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Thursday, Dec 7, 2023

Redevelopment — Costs Escalating for Manchester Bayfront Hotel

Redevelopment: Tainted

Soil at Campbell Site

Also Causing Concern

San Diego Unified Port District commissioners are expected to review stakeholders’ feedback on conceptual issues for the proposed Campbell Shipyard hotel this month.

Changes to the $240 million hotel project have already cost developer Manchester Resorts an additional $15 million to $20 million, and the Port District more than $1 million.

In order to maintain a view corridor to the bay past Harbor Drive, the project was redesigned earlier this year. The hotel was split into two structures, with 120 feet separating the hotel’s tower and lobby from ballroom and meeting space, and an adjacent parking building.

The main issue commissioners are likely to review May 30 involves increasing the public space between the bay and the hotel ballroom building, said Port Commissioner Jess Van Deventer.

One option is for Manchester to set both the building and adjacent parking structure back an additional 50 feet from the bay. It is already planned to be 100 feet from the water’s edge, Van Deventer said.

Another option is extending a wharf over the water, said Peter Litrenta, Manchester’s senior vice president.

Both projects are expensive, but moving the ballroom back would cost more, said Litrenta, who couldn’t produce exact figures.

For instance, expenses would come from relocating power hubs and building transportation such as escalators between the two structures, he said.

Commissioners will also discuss financial responsibility for cleaning up contaminated soil at the site of a triangular plaza being built on the south end of the Convention Center expansion site.

“We don’t think that it’s our responsibility to participate in that,” Litrenta said.

Letters on the setback and soil issues were sent to stakeholders in the project, who were asked to reply by May 26.

Stakeholders in the project include the city, the Port District, the Centre City Development Corp., the Convention Center Corp. and the San Diego Padres, along with Manchester.

The 1,200-room hotel is expected to generate hotel taxes needed to finance the proposed Padres ballpark Downtown.

Satisfying all of the players in the Campbell project hasn’t been easy, said Rita Vandegaw, spokeswoman for the port.

“It’s a very complex task,” Vandegaw said. “Everybody is working diligently but it takes all these partners and a spirit of cooperation to accomplish this.”

After final points are settled, the project will still have to undergo an environmental review and then changes to the area’s master plan will need approval from the California Coastal Commission.

At this point, agreement between the stakeholders is vital, Van Deventer said.

It’s a tough project,” he said. “You need everyone on board. That way the project will move faster.”

Based on it’s current status, the project could go before the Coastal Commission by next March, if not sooner, said Dan Wilkens, senior director of strategic planning for the Port District.


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