Port of San Diego commissioners have voted to retain both of the two finalists — longtime local developers OliverMcMillan Inc. and Sunroad Enterprises — to oversee future redevelopment of 57 acres at Harbor Island.
Port staff had earlier recommended a mixed-use proposal by OliverMcMillan to develop hotels, recreational canals and other elements on the full 57 acres, much of which formerly housed rental car lots.
The Board of Port Commissioners voted Sept. 8 to enter into negotiations with Sunroad to develop approximately nine acres in the southwestern portion of the project area, primarily with planned hotels; and with OliverMcMillan for its mixed-use elements to be developed across the remainder of the site.
The decision, which some commissioners described as a move to “split the baby,” was made by a vote of 5-1, with Garry Bonelli opposed and Rafael Castellanos abstaining.
Commissioners voted to retain both firms after Sunroad Chairman Aaron Feldman said his company has spent more than a decade, and about $2 million, to plan for hotels on that portion of Harbor Island. Sunroad has previously obtained preliminary entitlements for proposed hotels on and adjacent to the port’s project site, which primarily covers the eastern side of Harbor Island.
Port staff will now conduct negotiations with Sunroad for future development of hotels with about 325 rooms on a nine-acre, elbow-shaped parcel; and with OliverMcMillan for proposed elements covering the rest of the project site, including hotels, offices, retail, public plazas and a potential seaplane exhibit.
Port officials and representatives of the two firms said the developers will work together to ensure that the components blend well together as the property is built out over time.