CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - These days, Chula Vista's Bayfront is a good place to go to get away from it all, but officials say that's a big loss for the local economy.
Now, the Bayfront is going through a billion-dollar overhaul that could change everything.
"We're excited that it's actually happening," said Cindy Gompper-Graves, who heads the South County Economic Development Council.
Gompper-Graves has been working to boost the economy in the South Bay for the last 15 years. It's taken almost that long to reach the milestone area is now celebrating -- the overhaul of the 535-acre Chula Vista Bayfront.
"To infuse this type of brand-new development, job creation on the west side of Chula Vista, is critically important to bringing up everybody, all at the same time," Gompper-Graves said.
In August, officials held a ceremony breaking ground on the first of a series of projects to overhaul the bayfront. It'll start with a new RV resort, complete with modern amenities like a pool with a day spa. Additionally, crews will build a pedestrian and bicycle path that will wind to the new Sweetwater Park.
"When you look at the South Bay, this is the beginning of that renaissance," Port of San Diego Chairman Garry Bonelli said at the time.
The path and RV park are expected to open in 2020, but it's a much bigger, transformative project that is most anticipated.
In June, the Port of San Diego approved a $1.1 billion plan that would add a 1,600-room hotel and 400,000-square-foot convention center to the bayfront. The Port approved the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan after 10 years and more than 100 public and community meetings.
"South County deserves this kind of investment," Gompper-Graves said. "Our tourists that are coming will enjoy what we already enjoy in South County."
The completed project is expected to add 7,000 permanent jobs.
Gaylord Hotels, Marriott's convention brand, will operate the hotel. It's expected to break ground in 2020 and open in 2023.
The plan also calls for 1,500 homes and 200 acres of parks and open space.