San Diego’s Next Big Thing: Chula Vista Bayfront Coastal Redevelopment Project

Among San Diego County’s southernmost cities is Chula Vista (which means “beautiful view”), just north of the Mexican border and the second-largest city in the metropolitan area. While it has not been particularly touted thus far as a tourist trap or the most sought-after part of town, the city has plans to elevate its profile among travelers and sun-seekers.

The Chula Vista Bayfront project, a joint project of the City of Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego, is on track to become the area’s next leisure destination for both residents and coastal visitors. The Bayfront project will transform a largely vacant and underutilized 535 acres of industrial landscape into a thriving, world-class recreation, resort and residential area.

Approximately 230 acres (over 40 percent) of the land will be dedicated to parks, open space, the restoration and preservation of wildlife habitats, native species and coastal resources. New parks and open spaces are slated for 130 of those acres, which are set to include promenades, bike trails and other public access networks linking the entire bayfront area.

Also planned for inclusion are:

—Costa Vista, a luxury RV resort property from Sun RV Resorts, offering a mix of well-appointed, traditional RV stalls and vacation rentals. High-end, onsite amenities are planned to include a swimming pool, day spa, indoor/outdoor fitness centers, dual-level restaurant, arcade, playgrounds and more.

—Easy access to the Living Coast Discovery Center, a beloved local nature center located on San Diego Bay at Chula Vista, which provides up-close animal encounters, wildlife camps, private events and outreach programs.

—Sweetwater Bicycle Path and Promenade, a scenic, shoreline pedestrian and bicycle pathway adjacent to Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, which will wind through the future Sweetwater Park and link the regional Bayshore Bikeway to waterfront amenities.

—A total of 2,850 future hotel rooms, conference space and visitor-focused amenities.

—600,000 square feet of space to house retail, restaurant and marina-support activities.

—220,000 square feet of mixed-use commercial recreation and marine-related offices.

Construction work began in April 2020, initially focused on the Costa Vista RV Resort project, and will continue in phases. The redevelopment is expected to generate over $2 billion annually at buildout, create thousands of local jobs and help to expand upon tourism within the San Diego region.

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