The Star-News

District's parcel plans developing

Sat, Jun 22 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Robert Moreno

The Sweetwater Union High School District revealed its plans for a proposed housing and commercial project at Tuesday's community meeting.

The Colony is a proposed project on a vacated lot located at 435 Third Ave. which will feature one level of commercial space with four stories of residential units above it.

Charles Diamond, principal for HTI Property Group, said the district’s intent for the project is to sell it and use the money for whatever it decides.

“The plan of the district is to sell the property; it’s not going to be a developer,” Diamond said. “Our goal is to be able to sell this property this year.”

Diamond said if the property is sold this year and the property entitlements are approved by the city, then he anticipates construction to begin in the middle of 2014 with rental activity starting in 2016.

The Colony, Diamond said, is expected to bring about 200 to 300 more people into downtown Chula Vista, which Diamond said the city needs in terms of shopping.

The overall 162-residential housing project is set to have a swimming pool, a barbecue area, a fitness center and extensive landscaping.

For security purposes, there will only be one entrance into the residence and one exit out.

Diamond said he didn’t want commercial space on the property.

“I looked at the site and felt that retail on this site wasn’t appropriate,” he said. “It really belongs in the downtown area, so I fought that and I lost that battle.”

Diamond said the only commercial site on the property is the first floor where the Heritage Museum will move into.

The museum will be at the property for $1 a year for 99 years, Diamond said.

Community member Lauren Wilkinson expressed her concern that the project will cause more traffic congestion for the city.

“The problem with the downtown isn’t getting the people downtown, the problem in downtown is there’s one road to get there,” Wilkinson said. “It’s too congested. Everybody bypasses it to get there.”

Wilkinson said her apartment will neighbor the proposed project, which is surrounded by a school, church and a fast food restaurant.

She said there is a lot of traffic already in her neighborhood and  adding the project will make the problem worse.
Diamond said the Urban Core Specific Plan approved the project despite traffic concerns.

Carl Chase, a Chula Vista resident, said he is concerned that the project may not fit the scheme of downtown.

He also said he feels that more commercial projects should be included.

“To me, the whole thing looks like a project in a major city,” Chase said. “I think it’s over scaled, I know it has to make money. I think no retail is a mistake on Third Avenue.”

Diamond said the downtown area is dying and there aren’t a whole lot of people shopping in downtown.

He said the proposed project will accommodate the businesses on Third Avenue.

Diamond declined to state the cost of the proposed project because he said he doesn’t want it to interfere with negotiations with developers.

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