Massive South Bay development set to begin after delays

Burrowing owls among reasons for Millenia delay

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - The start to a long-awaited, multi-billion dollar project in eastern Chula Vista is finally around the corner.

Signs lining Birch Road just south of the Otay Ranch Town Center read "Coming Early 2013" for the 200-acre Millenia development. The project promises to bring 3,000 homes, 10,000 jobs and 3.5 million square feet of commercial space in an urban style setting for the South Bay city.

"This is really a catalytic project," said McMillin Vice President Todd Galarneau.

"There aren't frankly many in San Diego region that have this kind of opportunity," said Chula Vista Assistant City Manager Gary Halbert.

However, "Early 2013" has come and gone.

"We had heard that they were going to break ground in the spring," said Halbert.

Galarneau told 10News a number of things delayed groundbreaking.

"All your final engineering; we need to go out and get construction loans. We need to get bonds in place, and then we are also working through some environmental issues," he said.

Those environmental issues include the delicate nesting season for a few burrowing owls that set up homes in the ground on the Millenia property.

Now that nesting season is over, the city and McMillin said they have their ducks in a row.

"We are at a point right now where we're ready to break ground on the first phase," said Galarneau.

The first phase is expected to begin this month with a ceremonial groundbreaking set for August.

Galarneau said he expects the first new homes to be ready for residents by the end of 2014. He added Millenia would also give Chula Vista its first hotel east of Interstate 805.

The 3.5 million square feet of commercial space is more than four-times the size of the Otay Ranch Town Center, which sits just north of Millenia.


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