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Bayfront High Rise Plan Gets Coastal Commission Go Ahead


Aired 4/19/09


A plan to build two high rise luxury hotels on San Diego’s Embarcadero has passed a major hurdle this week. The California Coastal Commission has given the go ahead for the  Bay front development, with a couple of strings attached. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.


Lane Field lies at the corner of Broadway and Harbor Drive downtown, a prime site overlooking San Diego Bay. It was the home of the Padres in the 1950s. Now it’s a parking lot.


Chris Duggan of San Diego’s Regional Economic Development Corporation told the Coastal Commission the hotels and restaurants will be a major boost to the economy.         


Duggan : The EDC believes the Lane Field project meets the growing demand to transform our bay front, otherwise known as our front porch -  and will provide  2,000 hotel jobs, 500 temporary construction jobs and, it’s estimated, $5.4 million in  transit occupancy tax, received by the city of San Diego.


To satisfy Coastal Commission concerns about public access to the Bay, the developer must provide a bay front shuttle,  plus pay half the cost of a new International Youth Hostel,  somewhere else on the tidelands.


Sue Shaffner of Hostelling International likes the unique approach of balancing luxury hotels with affordable hostels.


Shaffner : We look forward to one day soon, inviting hostellers of all ages from around the world, to a hostel at one of the most beautiful locations around the world, the San Diego Port Tidelands.


The Port is committed to find a site for the Youth Hostel. If one isn’t found in a year, the port and the developer must come up with a $6 million fee instead.  


Alison St John, KPBS news.


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