Groundbreaking Thursday for new San Diego waterfront hotels

SAN DIEGO - A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday for a $130 million twin-hotel project at the site of the former Lane Field near San Diego's waterfront.

The SpringHill Suites by Marriott at the corner of North Harbor Drive and West Broadway will have 253 rooms, and the Residence Inn by Marriott will have 147 when it opens in early 2016, according to the Port of San Diego.

Also included will be about 27,000 square feet of retail space, parking for more than 400 vehicles and a 1.6-acre park.

Port of San Diego Chairman Bob Nelson said the groundbreaking was the beginning of a new life for the old Lane Field baseball stadium, former home of the Pacific Coast League Padres, and it would again be a focal point for the waterfront.

"There's a construction boom happening right now on the San Diego waterfront to make it more attractive, welcoming, and pedestrian friendly," Nelson said.

The development will help link downtown San Diego and the bay and incorporates about two acres of public space for a waterfront park at West Broadway and North Harbor Drive and other uses, he said.

Combined with a separate project to renovate the waterfront and Saturday's opening of a park at the County Administration Center, San Diego will have a "phenomenal front porch," Nelson said.

Port officials say the park will incorporate memories of Lane Field which used to be near the hotel site. The minor league Padres played at the ballpark from 1936 to 1957.

"Lane Field has been a significant site in San Diego's history, and the planned development will ensure its positive significance for the future of the Downtown neighborhood and the North Embarcadero," City Council President Todd Gloria said.

The contractors plan to have the park and hotels ready to open in early 2016.
"The Lane Field project will be another boost to our region's economy, creating jobs and revenue," Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. "It will also provide additional public amenities and tie in nicely with the new waterfront promenade and improvements opening soon as part of the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan."

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