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Liberty Station Development Scrutinized

Video unavailable. Read transcript below.

Video published September 17, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: We'll find out why the developer Corky McMillan wants to tear down a community meeting space and how much the city has collected from the Liberty Station deal.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

ONCE THE SITE OF THE NAVY TRAINING CENTER, ITS DEVELOPERS WANT TO TEAR DOWN A CONFERENCE CENTER PROMISED FOR PUBLIC MEETINGS TO BUILD A HOTEL. RICKY YOUNG IS HERE TO EXPLAIN WHAT'S AT STAKE. RICKY, A LITTLE HISTORIC CONTEXT. WHEN CORKY WON THE CONTRACT TO MAKE THE NAVAL TRAINING CENTER INTO A COMMUNITY, WHAT DID HE PROMISE TO WIN OVER MAYOR GOLDING AT THAT TIME AND THE CITY COUNCIL?

WELL, THE COMPANY'S BROUGHT A LOT TO THE TABLE. THEY HAD POLITICAL CONNECTIONS. ONE THING THE CITY WANTED WAS TO GET THE LAND FOR FREE. AND CORKY HAD SOME CONNECTIONS TO GET SOME LEGISLATION PASSED THAT ACTUALLY ALLOWED THEM TO GET IT FOR FREE AND PROMISED A LOT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN RETURN FOR SOME CITY INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE, THIS SORT OF THING.

YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT A POLITICAL CONNECTION. CAN YOU NAME A COUPLE PEOPLE THAT --

WELL I THINK ONE OF THEIR VICE PRESIDENTS WAS THE BROTHER OF DUNCAN HUNTER, A LONGTIME CONGRESSMAN.

BRIAN FILLBRING?

YEAH. THEY HAD SOME CONNECTIONS THERE. TO CUNNINGHAM AS PEOPLE KNOW. BUT THE DEAL WAS THEY BUILD 350 HOMES. THEY'VE NOW BUILT 349 AND THEY WANT TO CHANGE THE DEAL TO BUILD ANOTHER 30 AND 350 HOTEL ROOMS. THE WAY THEY WOULD DO THAT IS TEAR DOWN A COUPLE BUILDINGS.

WHAT ARE THE OBJECTIONS TO HAVING THEM TEAR IT DOWN? THEY'RE A FOR-PROFIT COMPANY. IF THEY WANT TO MAKE MORE MONEY, WHY NOT?

WELL ONE OF THESE BUILDINGS WHICH WAS A CHAPEL BUILT IN 1991 WAS TO BE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC AT LITTLE OR NO COST HALF THE TIME. IT IS GOING TO BE A CONFERENCE CENTER HALF THE TIME AND FOR THE PUBLIC HALF THE TIME. NOW THEY INTERPRETED THOSE GUIDELINES TO ALLOW THEM TO RECOOP THEIR COST FOR INSURANCE, MAINTENANCE, WHATEVER. AND IT CAN COST AS MUCH AS $3000 A DAY TO USE THE CENTER. SO McMILLEN IS SAYING WE CAN TEAR IT DOWN THEN. BUT PEOPLE ARE SAYING THE REASON IT'S NOT USED MUCH IS BECAUSE OF THE COST.

WHAT DID THE CITY GET OUT OF THIS DEAL? CORKY McMILLEN COMPANY PAID NOTHING FOR THE LAND. WHAT DID THE CITY GET?

THEY GOT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. THAT'S A THRIVING AREA WITH PRETTY NICE HOUSES AND TRADER JOE'S.

ANY CASH? ANY OF THE PROFITS SPLIT WITH THE CITY?

I THINK THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE PART OF THE DEAL AND HAS NOT COME TO BEAR AT LEAST THE LAST TIME WE LOOKED AT IT. MAYBE WE NEED TO LOOK AGAIN. THE SAME ARGUMENTS WILL BE MADE TO HAVE THE ADDITIONAL HOTEL ROOMS AND THE ADDITIONAL HOMES IF THE CITY ALLOWS THIS. IT'LL BRING MORE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THAN A LITTLE USED CONFERENCE CENTER.

SO DOES THIS BASICALLY COME DOWN TO A DECISION IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST VERSUS ANOTHER INCOME STREAM FOR A PRIVATE CORPORATION?

I THINK THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THESE DECISIONS TEND TO SEE THOSE AS THINGS HAND IN HAND.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH, RICKY YOUNG.

Comments

Avatar for user 'LaPlayaHeritage'

LaPlayaHeritage | September 17, 2010 at 10:44 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

If a person has never been inside our beautiful public Convention and Conference Center, they should not have an negative opinion until they see the great civic asset for themselves.

Our public 33,000 square foot Convention Center Building 623 at Liberty Station is beautiful inside and out. Some of the public areas inside the our building have been taken over by private offices for either McMillin or the adjacent Hotels which are always full. The original capacity when the Convention Center was given to McMillin for $1 was for 2,000 people, instead of the current 900 person capacity.

The public can rent out the entire 19,270-square-foot facility for $2,500 (M-F) and $2,900 (Sat-Sun).

Private parties can rent out the entire facility for $2,750 (M-F) and $3,250 (Sat-Sun).

http://as.sdsu.edu/aztec/meeting/rrr_05.html

For comparison, SDSU rents out the 9,900 foot Montezuma Hall for $150 for non-profit on-campus student organizations, and $1,500 for the general public.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/laplayaheritage/3927263274/in/set-72157622265528427/

There is an asphalt parking lot for Airport parking on the east side of the Channel across from the existing NTC hotels that was supposed to be a 650-room Nickelodean hotel completed in 2010. Currently McMillin gets all the parking revenue for Airport Parking, and the City get nothing from our publically owned leased land, which is not working for our benefit.

The promised 650-room hotel with associated TOT revenues should be built first, before thinking of destroying the very nice, good looking, but expensive public Convention Center.

( | 4634 suggest removal )

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