San Diego

San Diego Unified Port Commissioners on Tuesday postponed the consideration of a request by Seaport Village to broach discussions with the port's staff about building a family-oriented hotel at the bay-front shopping center.

The postponement came after representatives for developer Doug Manchester, who is building the expansion of the nearby Hotel Inter-Continental, reminded commissioners of their past commitments not to entertain proposals for rival hotels so close to the Inter-Continental and new convention center, which is under construction.

Manchester is building the second tower of the Inter-Continental, and is planning a third tower on a parcel of port property adjacent to Seaport Village. In his negotiations with the port, Manchester has insisted that the agency allow him enough lead time to make all three towers a financial success before it allows other hotel projects on tidelands--a condition that commissioners acknowledged Tuesday had been accepted.

Manchester's attorney, Christopher Neils, criticized the request by Seaport Village as an "end run" around the port's working agreement with the developer.

But Dick Burt, Seaport's attorney, said the request by the shopping center was just to broach the subject of a hotel with port staff members so the possible project could be penciled into preliminary plans for a Seaport expansion.

Port commissioners decided to refer the entire matter to the staff for a report at their first meeting in September.

Burt said after the meeting that the hotel would be as big as 350 rooms, and is to be built where the carrousel now stands.

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