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In November 2008 Gaylord Entertainment called it quits in Chula Vista. The Nashville-based company had ambitious plans for the city's bayfront which included a convention center and 1600 room hotel. A recent article in the Nashville Business Journal says Mayor Cheryl Cox is asking Gaylord to return.

Many attributed Gaylord's departure to an inability to reach agreement with local labor unions. However, a 2008 letter from Gaylord CEO, Bennett Westbrook to Tom Lemmon, the business manager for the San Diego-Imperial Labor Council, made it clear that the departure was about money. Westbrook wrote: "From the outset, we knew finding a mutually beneficial way to fund the infrastructure was a tall order--we have concluded there is no workable solution despite our best collective efforts."

Cox told the Nashville Business Journal "that the new master [bayfront] plan would cut infrastructure costs by more than $100 million..."

Though Cox was unavailable for comment, Chula Vista's assistant city manager, Gary Halbert, fielded some questions. Halbert said that the infrastructure savings might be found by using some of the existing infrastructure like roads already in place, and by using the existing right-of ways.

When asked how the death of the city's redevelopment agency will impact bayfront development, Halbert said that tax increment monies would have only accounted for 5% of the funding. The bulk of bayfront development will come from Transient Occupancy Tax (hotel and motel tax), developer impact fees, and port lease agreements.

The Coastal Commission will be meeting in Chula Vista Council Chambers March 7-9. The city's bayfront plans have not yet been agendized

Pictured: part of Chula Vista bayfront plan

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Susan Luzzaro Feb. 2, 2012 @ 7:57 p.m.

Correction: The letter was addressed to both Lorena Gonzalez, CEO San Diego-Imperial Labor Council and Tom Lemmon business manager of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council.


SurfPuppy619 Feb. 2, 2012 @ 9:54 p.m.

They're crazy to come back to CV after all the problems they had the first go round. If I owned that company I would not set foot in CV.

Reminds me of a commercial real estate deal I tried to put together in CV about 20 years ago that required a variance use permit and the dork city planners tried to extract 450 feet of free sidewalk in return for a permit that would have brought 20 good jobs to the city and should have been free.


laplayaheritage Feb. 3, 2012 @ 2:21 a.m.


Great news that the lie repeated by Republican Mayoral candidates that Gaylord left Chula Vista due to the Unions insistence on Project Labor Agreements finally being challenged by Democrats. When candidates bring up the same lie, the public should correct them with the actual letter linked above.


joepublic Feb. 3, 2012 @ 8:37 a.m.

laplayaheritage: Republican mayoral candidates repeating a lie is one thing, but the press (Union Tribune) chiming in is a great disservice to the people who are deciding on which way to vote. Here's how the Union Tribune's Editorial May 11, 2008, slanted the issue.

UNION-TRIBUNE EDITORIAL Yes on G in Chula Vista Written by San Diego U-T Editorial Board

12:04 a.m., May 8, 2010 Chula Vista is where the ghost of the billion-dollar Gaylord hotel and convention center still looms large, a testament to what might have been save for the intransigence of organized labor demanding a PLA, environmental groups wanting $21 million in greenmail, a business community that sat on its hands, and infrastructure costs that ultimately proved fatal.


SurfPuppy619 Feb. 3, 2012 @ 8:50 a.m.

The PLA's were a MAJOR reason they stopped. I read the letter and it indicates that was not the case, but I am sure it was a large part of the reason- notwithstanding that letter.


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