Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gaylord Hotels pulls out of Chula Vista resort project

Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego were reeling yesterday after Gaylord Entertainment dropped plans for a 32-acre resort, another disappointment in 35 years of failed attempts to develop the city's waterfront.

In separate afternoon meetings with the Port District and the city, Gaylord Senior Vice President Bennett Westbrook said the regulatory and financial hurdles were deal-breakers.

The project had been held out as the bayfront savior that would bring jobs, tourism and cash to Chula Vista, the port and Gaylord, based in Nashville, Tenn.

“I'm really disappointed,” said Mayor Cheryl Cox, who added that she had no idea Gaylord planned to pull out. “There is no doubt in my mind that Gaylord's decision is final.”

Read the complete story in the San Diego Union Tribune.

February 2005: A group from Gaylord Entertainment, based in Nashville, Tenn., visits Chula Vista City Hall unannounced to ask about building a massive complex on the city's bayfront.

Aug. 9: The Port Commission opens up the project for other developers to bid.

Nov. 1: The Port Commission chooses Gaylord over local developers.

July 2006: Gaylord, Chula Vista and the Port Commission sign an agreement, and the company begins negotiating with labor.

March 15, 2007: Gaylord unveils a detailed concept design for a 32-acre complex, including 1,500 to 2,000 hotel rooms, meeting space, shops, a spa and fitness center, six restaurants and a rooftop bar.

June 29: A Gaylord official meets with union leaders in San Diego after negotiations stall, but no deal is reached.

July 6: Gaylord pulls out of the project for the first time.

Aug. 7: Gaylord resumes talks with the city and the Port District.

September 2008: Gaylord announces plans to build in Mesa, Ariz.

Yesterday: Gaylord withdraws from the Chula Vista project, citing infrastructure costs and a complicated regulatory and legal structure.

Online: Read Gaylord Entertainment's letter to city and port officials at uniontrib.com/more/documents

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