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Lane Field hotel takes its place on the tidelands

Beginning of a big hotel job. Crane at work on Lane Field hotel construction. Friday, June 13th.
Beginning of a big hotel job. Crane at work on Lane Field hotel construction. Friday, June 13th.
Adam Benjamin

Visitors on the downtown San Diego waterfront, near the cruise ship terminal, in early 2016, will find the doors open at the new Lane Field hotel tower. A tower that stands 17 levels high, with a rooftop terrace on the 18th level, on the old 5 and P parking lot site downtown drivers and cruise ship tourists used to park.

Adam Benjamin
Lane Field hotel construction crane work. Friday, June 13th.

The 5.8 acres of valuable tidelands, north of W. Broadway, between N. Harbor Drive on the west and Pacific Coast Highway on the east, kept developers, and port officials, working through the possibilities for using the land to make the area fit in the Southern California city's plan for progress on its north embarcadero. Board members at the Port of San Diego and Lane Field San Diego Developers first agreed on turning San DIegans' waterfront scene into a busier, and more profitable, tourist destinatioin eight years ago in 2006.

May 8th, Councilman Todd Gloria joined Port officials, and the Lane Field developers, to break ground on the waterfront development project. Construction had been set to begin in Fall in 2009 after the California Costal Commission granted the developer a coastal development permit. At the time, two hotel locations were set to fill the watefront acreage.

Turns out, hotel developers can not pick any land near the waterfront they want in San Diego. Hotel plans shrank to one tower building on the north lot after the public decided it wants lots of park land on the waterfront, and, the Port worked out the deal to keep 2 acres on the south lot open park land.

A place both locals and tourists can visit, and enjoy the outdoor bay sun, won the popular support.

Hensel Phelps stays busy at work building the single hotel tower that serves as both a 250 room Springfield Suites Marriott and a 150 room long term stay Residence Inn. With a 2012 coastal development permit in hand, Lane Field's workers unearth the old parking lot grounds to turn the tidelands grounds onthe north lot into hotel estate grounds. Regular hotel building work will last through phase one in the Lane Field project.

Across from the tourist trip destination promenade on Harbor Drive the Port patiently widens, and sets up new retail, Marriott's builers work on a luxury destination. The frame for the ground floor southface lobby and retail and restaurant locations, westside, eastside to the front corner, and in front west of the lobby entrance, will rise out of the ground. Three parking levels will come next. Topped by a southside terrace deck, and a pool and a jacuzzi, on top of the 4th level.

Meeting rooms will take over the fourth level builing space, in the center northside. The high views from the waterfront streets will look up to 12 guest room levels. Topped by the rooftop terrace.

Just one hundred and fifty feet back from Harbor Drive. The Port drew the public's line south of the hotel's southside entry plaza. The two acre south lot park the construction team will build during phase two, before the 2016 project finish, guarantees the North Embarcadero Visonary Plan plan to build up major public open space on the waterfront the maritime industry work once marked out most the territory will not fall shorrt.

The Port takes stock in gaining another one-half acre to add to the park westside of the hotel. The land, just north, stands on a Navy building lot. If the U.S. Navy agrees to give the Port the land in exchange for a new building facility the Port builds for the Navy at a current Navy location, the public will have its two and one half acre waterfront park.

More park acreage fits in the San DIego port plans. The Lane FIeld hotel will join a line of waterfront enterprises San Diego crowds can remember took a classy port landmark role near the water and the ships. Windows reflecting light over the greens. Just part of the local ocean city lifestyle.

THis is the latest story told for Saturday City Scene Chronicles. TO read earlier articles, read
Laurel St bridge an all go at Balboa Park
Street life to go smoother in El Cajon
Lincoln Park locals spend last weeks without sidewalks