Gaylord Drops Chula Vista Project

The city of Chula Vista, Calif., and the Port of San Diego were kicked in the chops when Gaylord Entertainment dropped plans to build a 35-acre resort in the area – but a new football stadium could be a silver lining.

The Gaylord Entertainment resort was expected to be a savior for the Chula Vista bayfront, bringing 10,000 jobs, tourism and cash. Several city officials expressed their disappointment to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The hotel and convention center had been discussed for three years and included an initial negotiation collapse in May 2007 when Gaylord could not reach an agreement with labor unions. The final nails in the coffin were large offsite infrastructure costs and drawn-out approval processes, according to Gaylord CEO Colin Reed.

“The good news is that there is a large parcel on the bayfront that’s now vacant,” Mark Fabiani, general counsel for the San Diego Chargers, told the Union-Tribune. “We’d look at that with open minds.”

The Chargers had been exploring property near the Gaylord resort site for a stadium.

“The city had always made it clear to us – particularly Mayor [Cheryl] Cox – that Gaylord was the No. 1 priority and that it had to be resolved before our project could move forward.”

Gaylord was dealing with at least nine regulatory agencies, according to the paper. As the first developer of the bayfront, Gaylord would also have to put up $308 million in infrastructure to support its resort.

“We have been unable to overcome perhaps the biggest hurdle of the project – funding the enormous infrastructure costs associated with the bayfront redevelopment in a manner that will generate adequate financial returns for Gaylord, the port and the city,” said Gaylord Senior VP Bennett Westbrook, according to the paper.

Chula Vista has reportedly been trying to develop the bayfront for 35 years.

Meanwhile, Gaylord Entertainment has plans to develop a property in Mesa, Ariz.

The company will record an approximately $5 million fourth-quarter impairment charge for costs related to the Chula Vista project.