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eburress Jul 1, 2007 3:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bmfarley (Post 2927528)
But about high speed rail.... the intent or design of the system is to provide a statewide option for getting to distant locations and compete with longer trips made by other modes. Although is can be used for commute trips, depending on station locations, HSR is designed for other purposes than localized trips. High Speed Rail is most competitive with trips in the 300 mile range. The main touted benefit is travel time. Compared to air travel, when one accounts for the need to get into an airport, be there 60 minutes before the flight, the flight, and getting out of the destination airport.... HSR will get you to your destination faster or at about the same time. The longer the distance the less competitive HSR becomes.

SD to San Francisco is probably outside of the envelope for HSR being more competitive than air travel with respect to travel time. As an example... Just Thursday night I flew from SD to San Jose on American... a similar trip as to SF. Anyway, I left for the airport at 6:55pm to get dropped off at 7:10pm-ish. My flight was at 8:10. Boarding began about 7:30 and the plane left on time. I got to San Jose and was walking out the terminal at slightly after 9:30pm... in what turned out to be an approximate 2:35 total travel time.

If on High Speed Rail the trip would take 3:27 to 3:40 according to the table below depending on the different alignments being discussed up in the Bay Area. This is about a 1hr difference.... so HSR IS less competitive for this trip when considering travel time. Although imo... there is a lot of opportunity to straighten out the alighnment to reduce this time. If travellers factor in other things... like the hassle of airports or the ability to use electronic devices, or the consistency of flights to leave on time... well, HSR could indeed be the first choice for many travellers, including business travellers.

HSR also envisions the future. Take into consideration that the state is growing at a rate of 400,000 to 600,000 people every year. The states population is currenlty around 37 million. In 25 years or so... it'll be around 50 million. Those are projections not done by me... but demograpghers overseeing official projections. Now consider the transportation infrastructure needed to accomodate those numbers... and numbers beyond! The state simply does not have the financial resources or physical space to accomodate the increasing demands on our airports and highways.

Airports across the state, not just in San Diego, are landlocked with few opportunities to expand. Major highways... are choked at thousands of places across the state and cannot be expanded due to neighboring homes or other physical constraints. Resolving those constraints will come at twice the price than HSR... $40 billion for HSR while improvements to others are estimated at $80 billion! There is also fewer environmental impacts with electrically run trains than air polluting cars and planes.

And then also ask ourselves...kinda as anside... does it make sense to rely on improvements to those modes and increasingly rely on foreign fossil fuels... from parts of the world that hate us and would rather see us oblitorated off the planet? Should we really further our dependence on places like those and increase our need to send the military in a secure access to those fossil fuels?

That's all grand, but it doesn't make SD and it's airport any more appealing/competitive for business travelers who need to travel to places not in CA. People in SD shouldn't have to drive to LA or fly to Dallas in order to catch flights to the rest of the world.

sandiegodweller Jul 1, 2007 6:08 PM

Stop underfunded developers from tying up prime land
 
GRH, shit or get off the pot. If you use eminent domain to kick people off their properties, you suffer the consequences. Too bad about the increased costs. Total chicken shit dealings by the City and GRH; you pursued the eminent domain and then bitched about the value that the judge and jury awarded to the owner. The City continues to amaze us resident San Diegan's with their total incompetence.

If the City is claiming that the owner knew about the eminent domain proceedings when he bought it (he might have), why did they issue building permits for the project a year later?

Here is my suggestion on how to fix this. The City should enforce eminent domain again against GRH. They should get a new appraisal (at the current prices with the current approved hotel plan) and buy back the site. Since the developer is claiming that the site is too expensive to build now, the residual land value for the current approved hotel project is less than zero.

The City should then issue an Request For Proposal and sell the land to the highest bidder with the covenant that the building plans are approved and that construction commence within 180 days. Bidders will be required to post proof of a completion bond along with their bids.



3 years after land was taken, it's being used as parking lot
By Jeanette Steele
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

June 24, 2007

DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO – Construction costs are skyrocketing, a court fight is dragging along, and three years after a Gaslamp Quarter cigar shop was condemned to make way for a hotel, the site is being used as a parking lot.


EDUARDO CONTRERAS / Union-Tribune
The Gran Havana cigar shop on J Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues was condemned to make way for a hotel, but the site is a parking lot today.
Now the developer of a proposed Marriott Renaissance is asking San Diego's downtown redevelopment agency for another extension.

Under the current agreement, excavation of the site should have started in January and the hotel should be completed by September 2008. The company now proposes to bring in the backhoes in May and finish the hotel in July 2010.

The Centre City Development Corp. will consider the request at a meeting Wednesday. The downtown redevelopment agency, which took the Gran Havana cigar shop in a controversial decision in 2004, has been unhappy about the delay.

Shop owner Ahmad Mesdaq's appeal of the eminent domain action still is pending in court. So is the agency's appeal of a judge and jury's $9.1 million award to Mesdaq. Oral arguments in both cases start July 17.

The developer blames the delay on that litigation and the chilling effect of Proposition 90, the failed 2006 ballot measure that might have limited the city's condemnation powers.

Now the developer, GRH LLC, wants to lease the whole project to an Anaheim-based company, Hansji Hotels, that is building a hotel across the street. GRH wants help with spiraling project costs, which went from $70 million in April 2004 to $108 million today.
“We are all committed to proceeding with the project as expeditiously as possible,” said Cynthia Eldred, attorney for GRH, which is managed by Ramin Samimi of San Diego.

Samimi's firm wants a nearly two-year extension on the construction timeline dictated by the downtown agency. It would be the second extension, agency officials said.

Mesdaq calls these requests unfair.

“It's just a very sad fact when a government entity takes property for a private developer so he can flip it and make a big sum of money,” he said.

Mesdaq, 36, said he tried reopening his cigar shop in September 2006 at another Gaslamp Quarter address, but business never came around and he closed in January.

Mesdaq, a Scripps Ranch resident, said he plans to use his settlement money to open another business in the Gaslamp.

Eldred disputed that this is a case of “flipping” a project, as GRH would maintain ownership of the land while Hansji Hotels would build and operate the hotel.

She also said the proposed lease doesn't allow her client to cash in. Under the deal with Hansji, she said, GRH takes a hit on expected earnings both now and in the future.

The company already has spent $23 million on the project.

The site is on J Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues. Mesdaq owned 5,000 square feet of the 40,000-square-foot parcel that is slated to become a four-star Marriott Renaissance hotel with 334 rooms.

GRH originally wanted to build the hotel on a different downtown site that it owned, but that land was condemned for what became Petco Park.

Mesdaq bought his property in 2000 and, combined with renovations he had made, sunk about $2.5 million into the former warehouse, turning the site into a showcase.

The city long has maintained that Mesdaq knew the hotel proposal was coming when he purchased the land. He says he didn't learn of it until he was in escrow.

Mesdaq refused offers to sell and went to court to stop the condemnation. He argued that taking his land and handing it to a private party did not amount to a “public use.”

In recent years, governments have used eminent domain powers for “economic development,” arguing that the tax revenue and jobs that private developers bring ultimately benefit the public. City redevelopment officials argued that the hotel would provide much-needed property and hotel-room tax revenue and hotel rooms to serve the Convention Center.

The cigar shop was demolished. The land is being used now as a pay parking lot, with the revenue going to the developer and the downtown agency.

ChargerFan Jul 1, 2007 6:29 PM

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c2...n90/7-1-07.jpg

Glass on the Hilton!

sandiegodweller Jul 1, 2007 6:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChargerFan (Post 2928931)

I saw the project management/construction crew for the Hilton at Bondi last week. I knew because they all had Hilton hard hats on with their suits.

They said that they are several weeks ahead of the construction scehdule.

Even though they have no pwer to do so, they will be trying to speed up the pedestrian bridge across Harbor from Petco Park.

Derek Jul 1, 2007 9:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by <ak/> (Post 2928487)
:previous:
apparently Grigio is downscaled Mondrian

http://www.ccdc.com/index.cfm?fuseac...propertyID=615

Oh sweet! I didn't notice that! Thanks.:)

HurricaneHugo Jul 1, 2007 9:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by <ak/> (Post 2928487)
:previous:
apparently Grigio is downscaled Mondrian

http://www.ccdc.com/index.cfm?fuseac...propertyID=615

Hopefuly they cut out some of the fat to make it more attractive.

eburress Jul 1, 2007 10:55 PM

^^ If it is changing purposes (apartments to hotel), my guess is that it's going to get a complete design redo. I didn't mind the former appearance, but hopefully they come back with something curvy! :)

spoonman Jul 1, 2007 11:01 PM

^Where did you find out that it will have a hotel component?

On CCDC I only read that it will have both apartments and condos, which by the way is an interesting mix.

<ak/> Jul 2, 2007 12:59 AM

:previous:
it's a bit curvy on 9th ave side ;)

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j2.../dt/grigio.jpg

cut from http://www.baumbergerstudio.com/

eburress Jul 2, 2007 1:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spoonman (Post 2929295)
^Where did you find out that it will have a hotel component?

On CCDC I only read that it will have both apartments and condos, which by the way is an interesting mix.

Brainfart - sorry. :jester:

bmfarley Jul 2, 2007 1:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eburress (Post 2928720)
That's all grand, but it doesn't make SD and it's airport any more appealing/competitive for business travelers who need to travel to places not in CA. People in SD shouldn't have to drive to LA or fly to Dallas in order to catch flights to the rest of the world.

Fortunately it does not have to. After all, business travellers is one niche of airport users. If they are from outside California... that's a sub-niche.

sandiegodweller Jul 2, 2007 1:51 AM

Will this happen?
 
Gaylord, union fail to reach labor deal

By Tanya Mannes
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

June 30, 2007

CHULA VISTA – A Gaylord Entertainment official talked yesterday with local union representatives about a labor agreement for the company's proposed project on the Chula Vista bayfront, but failed to make a deal.
The Nashville, Tenn.-based company recently threatened to back out of the $1 billion-plus project – a 2,000-room hotel and convention center – if it can't reach a labor agreement by the end of today.

It's unclear whether that deadline stands.

Labor union negotiator Tom Lemmon said “the talks didn't go great.” But he said he's not worried about the company's deadline.

“There was no mention of the deadline,” Lemmon said. “Basically, they took our offer back and said they'd get back to us next week.”

Gaylord spokesman Brian Abrahamson, citing company policy, declined to comment on the negotiations other than to confirm the meeting.

Yesterday's two-hour meeting, which began at 7 a.m., was originally scheduled for Thursday.

Gaylord's senior vice president, Bennett Westbrook, flew to San Diego for the meeting with Lemmon, who is business manager of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council; Jerry Butkiewicz, secretary-treasurer of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council; and Allen Shur, business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 569.

Afterward, Shur said he was not optimistic about reaching a deal.

Butkiewicz didn't return calls.

The company began negotiating with labor representatives in July 2006. The unions want what is called a “project labor agreement,” which would require 100 percent of the estimated 6,500 workers needed for the project to be union members or pay dues to be represented by the union. Lemmon said having a project labor agreement is the only way to guarantee that local workers will be hired.

Westbrook set the deadline in a June 15 letter to union representatives in which he expressed frustration at their demands.

Gaylord is willing to provide union wages and benefits, according to the letter. But, Westbrook said, the company doesn't want to require workers to pay union dues or to make contractors deal directly with the unions.

“We are not willing to sign an agreement that effectively eliminates nonunion contractors and their employees from participating on the project,” Westbrook said in the letter.

He said the unions threatened to “aggressively interfere” with the project as it deals with regulatory hurdles – such as the state-mandated environmental impact report – which would cause delays and increase costs.

Westbrook wrote, “if we are unable to reach an agreement by the end of the month, we plan to redirect our attention to pursuing projects in communities where our significant private investment and the ensuing economic benefits will be better appreciated.”

Gaylord is seeking a public subsidy for its Chula Vista project from the Port of San Diego, which manages the bayfront land, and the city of Chula Vista.

The port and city are not directly involved in the labor negotiations.

Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox has declined to take sides in the labor negotiations and did not return a call yesterday afternoon.

eburress Jul 2, 2007 6:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bmfarley (Post 2929466)
Fortunately it does not have to. After all, business travellers is one niche of airport users. If they are from outside California... that's a sub-niche.

If high speed rail isn't going to help people in San Diego get to national and international destinations, then it shouldn't be anybody's top priority. Like several people have said, it's already pretty easy to travel within CA and providing intra-state travel alternatives won't make San Diego any more competitive when it comes to attracting and encouraging corporate expansion.

Again, the vast majority of travelers (business or otherwise) travel to places not in CA.

bmfarley Jul 2, 2007 6:20 AM

^^^ I think we agree that efforts should be made to assure travel in and out of San Diego is hassle-free in 2030 and future years.

Airports are great for long-distant flights... no argument there.

mello Jul 2, 2007 11:37 AM

Stop underfunded developers from tying up prime land = Quote of the Year
 
I could not agree more my friend. You are spot on with this one. Lets be honest guys, how many "proposals" and "approvals" does this damn city have with..... no action??

We have seen tons of projects that get us excited and then nothing. Things are freaking dead here right now.

So the question is what can the city do? All of these developers are now just sitting on prime land and it just sits. Espeicially that giant parking lot in the Gaslamp, frankly that is embarassing, and all the parking lots on PCH are really getting on my nerves.

It is mid 2007 and are there ANY shovels hitting dirt on PCH??? Hell no... Lets go freaking Lane Field christ! *takes a shot of Jim Beam* :hell:

SDCAL Jul 2, 2007 6:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eburress (Post 2929835)
If high speed rail isn't going to help people in San Diego get to national and international destinations, then it shouldn't be anybody's top priority. Like several people have said, it's already pretty easy to travel within CA and providing intra-state travel alternatives won't make San Diego any more competitive when it comes to attracting and encouraging corporate expansion.

Again, the vast majority of travelers (business or otherwise) travel to places not in CA.

I agree - - saying San Diego will bennefit from HSR implies it is going to be unique to us. LA and SF will not only also have HSR, but the government of CA is not even going to put San Diego in it's first phase. It is going to build LA-SF and, if future funding is available, expand to OC and SD. New infrastructure does not attract business that nets profit for a long time as it takes time for the "novelty" to catch on. This means SF and LA will have the luxury of well ESTABLISHED HSP AND large international airports before SD gets either one. Even if SD ends up getting HSR years after the LA-SF line is built, we may bennefit but SF and LA will also bennefit as well as continue to be international flight hubs. The point is that SD's problem is that it is in a state that has two other world-class major cities and tends to be considered the "3rd choice" in terms of business, culture, transportation, etc. HSR is not an SD centered endeavor, but a state plan that is designed to bennefit all our major cities, so with that presumption SD, SF, LA, Sac will ALL bennefit from HSR, but SD will still be lacking in the air transportation sector.
The chance to distinguish SD as a major hub is far greater with a new airport than with HSR. This is because LA's aiport, especially the international terminal, is crumbling and LAX needs to be either replaced or majorly rennovated. SD has the opportunity to beat LA to the punch and build Southern California's most high-tech passenger friendly international air centre. Unlike HSR which would bennefit the states metro areas equally (or in favor of SF-LA if you consider the timetable) and not make SD competative against our sister state cities, a new airport WOULD distinguish us and make us very competative against our sisters, especially LA!!!!!

sandiegodweller Jul 2, 2007 9:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mello (Post 2929997)
I could not agree more my friend. You are spot on with this one. Lets be honest guys, how many "proposals" and "approvals" does this damn city have with..... no action??

We have seen tons of projects that get us excited and then nothing. Things are freaking dead here right now.

So the question is what can the city do? All of these developers are now just sitting on prime land and it just sits. Espeicially that giant parking lot in the Gaslamp, frankly that is embarassing, and all the parking lots on PCH are really getting on my nerves.

It is mid 2007 and are there ANY shovels hitting dirt on PCH??? Hell no... Lets go freaking Lane Field christ! *takes a shot of Jim Beam* :hell:

That is not exactly my beef. I think it is a crime if a developer forces eminant domain, demolishes the property and then sits on the site.

In the future, the City better have some buyback mechanism in the deal that allows them to take back the site if development doesn't occur in a timely manner.

The City did the same thing in Barrio Logan with Sam Marasco. I don't think that they had an eminant domain action but they have allowed the developer to control the site for 10 years now.

HurricaneHugo Jul 3, 2007 3:55 AM

^^ god, that site has been like that as long as i can remember

i remember thinking when i was little that the project was going to spurr some development in the area and generally having a positive effect....10 years later...nothing

Urban Sky Jul 3, 2007 5:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mello (Post 2929997)
I could not agree more my friend. You are spot on with this one. Lets be honest guys, how many "proposals" and "approvals" does this damn city have with..... no action??

We have seen tons of projects that get us excited and then nothing. Things are freaking dead here right now.

So the question is what can the city do? All of these developers are now just sitting on prime land and it just sits. Espeicially that giant parking lot in the Gaslamp, frankly that is embarassing, and all the parking lots on PCH are really getting on my nerves.

It is mid 2007 and are there ANY shovels hitting dirt on PCH??? Hell no... Lets go freaking Lane Field christ! *takes a shot of Jim Beam* :hell:


It's such a shame.... :hell:

sandiego_urban Jul 3, 2007 8:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mello (Post 2929997)
It is mid 2007 and are there ANY shovels hitting dirt on PCH??? Hell no... Lets go freaking Lane Field christ! *takes a shot of Jim Beam* :hell:

Don't you recall when we all were anticipating this breather in development towards the end of last year? It's all a part of the cycle. In the meantime, just relax and watch Vantage Pointe, Sapphire, Bayside, Hilton, etc, rise from the ground until the next boom cycle. I'm thinking the Irvine Tower, 1st & Island and Lane Field will be a part of the next generation of towers. :)


*******************************************************


Looks like The Diegan has finally found it's luxury hotel operator. The Setai Group has a property in Miami Beach http://www.setai.com/ and one set to break ground in NYC http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/01/19...aking%20Ground. They claim to be a 5-Star operator but I've never heard of them before.

From today's San Diego Business Journal -


New York Developer Puts New Brand On Diegan


http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y12...0Web20Size.jpg

Fifth Avenue Partners has announced that the Setai Group will be the official operator of The Setai San Diego, a boutique hotel formerly known as the Diegan, under construction on downtown’s Fifth Avenue.

The 100 percent condotel has 161 rooms and suites ranging from 400 to 2,700 square feet that are being sold in the high $400,000s to $3.8 million range. Condotels are hotels whose rooms are owned by individuals or parties that use them for a fraction of a year and place them into the regular inventory the remainder of the time. The revenue generated by renting the rooms may be used to offset mortgages.

The newly branded property is scheduled for completion at the end of the year. The Setai Group is a New York-based development firm that specializes in luxury residential and boutique hotels.


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