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San Diego Port Board To Consider Commitment To Selected Seaport Village Team

A bird's-eye view of Protea Waterfront Development's $1.2B plan to redevelop Seaport Village.

The San Diego Unified Port District has released a report with numerous questions and concerns about the feasibility, financing and legality of the proposed $1.2B Seaport Village Redevelopment plan proposed by the 1HWY1/Protea Waterfront Development team. The SDUPD board will discuss the report at its meeting Thursday and decide whether to move ahead to the next phase in the approval process—negotiating an exclusive agreement with the development/management team—or put the project on hold, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The 1HWY1 proposal for the 70-acre site, which the SDUPD board selected from six proposals in July, calls for three hotels with 1,077 rooms; more than 388k SF of retail and restaurant space—triple that of the current Seaport Village; 19,100 SF of office space; and two attractions, the 480-foo-tall "Spire" observation tower by ThrillRide; and a 178,500 SF OdySea aquarium, which includes a 16k SF butterfly exhibit and 12k SF retail space. A 65,200 SF charter high school focused on marine biology and shipping logistics, and a lifelong learning center operated by the University of San Diego would occupy four stories above retail shops.

Over the last two months, the Port posed 140 questions and concerns to 1HWY1 regarding the developer’s financial projections, parking and mobility plans and why the $150M in planned public infrastructure improvements would not require a subsidy from the port. Protea’s proposal estimated the redeveloped Seaport Village would generate $22.5M annually for the port, more than $4.1M more than was collected in fiscal year 2015 from tenants under the current leaseholder, Carlsbad, CA-based Terramar Retail Centers, due to the expanded scope of the development.

Responding, 1HWY1 offered 26 recommendations for the board’s consideration, which included conducting feasibility studies and economic analyses, and providing a breakdown of financial details. 1HWY1’s Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen, a veteran development project manager, said he hopes the board will add its commitment to his team in the staff’s proposed resolution, assuming the next round of answers is acceptable. The other five bidders, some of which proposed similar elements to Protea’s plan, remain legally eligible to take over, until the port enters exclusive negotiations with Gaffen’s team. [SDUT