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CCDC Makes No Recommendation On Fat City Hotels

An application for permits required to build two hotels on the old Fat City restaurant property north of downtown San Diego was forwarded today to the chairman of the Centre City Development Corp. without recommendation after labor unions expressed opposition.

Jonathan Segal, an architect who wants to build the hotels on 63,000 square feet at Hawthorn Street and Pacific Highway, needs a CCDC development permit and a coastal development permit -- which is different from a similar document obtained from the California Coastal Commission -- to proceed.

The CCDC Board of Directors approved of the project's design, but didn't issue a positive recommendation to Chairman Kim John Kilkenny on the permits, said Derek Danziger, a spokesman for the city's downtown development arm. He said Kilkenny has the final call on whether to approve the permits.

Danziger said labor representatives delivered a 130-page opposition letter that challenges the environmental review of the project and criticizes wages paid by hotels as too low.

He said forwarding the permits application without a recommendation keeps the project alive while Kilkenny and CCDC staff study labor's concerns.

The property is familiar to San Diegans as the pink art deco building they see when they drive to the airport. Between them, the hotels would be six stories tall and have a combined 364 rooms.

Kilkenny previously denied Segal the permits for a 232-unit apartment plan because of concerns that it would increase the regulatory burden faced by neighboring Solar Turbines, a large area employer for nearly 80 years, and jeopardize its future at the waterfront.

Solar Turbines and elected officials opposed the apartment proposal.

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