- San Diego port commissioners, skipping its usual drawn-out development process, have chosen to begin negotiations with Protea Waterfront Development for the planned $1.2-billion, portside, mixed-use Seaport San Diego, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
- Despite eschewing its usual drawn-out development process, an opponent of the commission's decision said, "We're maybe at the top of the second inning" of a process that will go on for years.
- If Protea and the commission cannot agree on key terms of the development project, commission officials said they would continue the process with three other finalists.
The commission said it must still verify the financial aspects of the project, as well as how Seaport San Diego would pay for $150 million in infrastructure improvements rather than rely on port subsidies. If Protea and the port can reach an agreement on that and other elements of the development, construction on the 70-acre complex could start as soon as 2020 with completion slated for 2023. At least one commissioner, as well as one other bidder, however, are critics of the speedy decision and said the commission should take its time to evaluate its options.
Seaport San Diego will include a Virgin Hotel with a total of 1,077 rooms – with 350 Yotel microroom units – 388,625 square feet of shops and restaurants, 19,130 square feet of office space for port businesses, a charter high school, a 480-foot observation tower, a 178,490-square-foot aquarium and a park featuring water- and beach-based activities.
The city of Miami Beach county commissioners also threw caution to the wind this month and chose to skip the standard price-based bid process and begin negotiations for a light rail streetcar system with French rail company Alstom. The system, estimated at $380 million, is the first step in connecting Miami Beach with downtown Miami. Commissioners said they chose Alstom based on its design and technology presentations and that they will negotiate on the price. The commission said it also skipped on applying for federal funds because the required studies would take too long.