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Port Commissioner Speaks At IB Chamber Breakfast

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Posted: Friday, November 1, 2019 4:12 pm

Port Commissioner Dan Malcolm gave an update on port projects during the last IB Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Thursday, Oct. 24.

Malcolm, the featured speaker, was elected commissioner in 2011 and has a long history of public service. Malcolm was an Imperial Beach city council member, served on the MTS board, on the South County Economic Development Council, and was chairman at Sharp Coronado Hospital, as a director of the master board of Sharp Healthcare. He has a degree in finance and real estate from the University of San Diego and a law degree from Thomas Jefferson University School of Law. He lives in Imperial Beach and is the president and CEO of Malcolm Properties.

Malcolm explained some of the history of the Port District which is a state of California entity and trustee of tidelands since its creation in 1962. The port is in charge of land and water and developing productive uses and opportunities. The port engages in private-public partnerships with hotels and tenants as in the example of San Diego Bay. The Port has a total of $8.5 billion in real estate, hospitality, maritime and restaurants. Malcolm said the port charges rent which gets reinvested and finds its way back to the community. “It’s a unique government agency. We live within our means and create revenue, and use it for the benefit of our region,” he said. The five cities that are under the Port of San Diego are Imperial Beach, Coronado, San Diego, National City and Chula Vista for a total of 33 miles of coastline.

The port is currently working on some projects in Imperial Beach. Malcolm spoke of Pond 20 and said that the area has always been of interest to him as a real estate investor. With time he has realized that Pond 20 is a far more valuable piece of land because it creates an economic benefit and a good environmental policy. The port is turning the wetlands into a mitigation area and will sell credits to developers around the bay and up and down the coast that need to buy acres for mitigation for their own projects. The port has $40 million worth of credits with Pond 20 and will sell them at $500,000 an acre. “That money will not be disbursed but will stay in Imperial Beach and San Diego for economic benefit…it’s a model for good environmental and economic policy,” he said.

The Port provides the city of Imperial Beach with $5 million a year for security, maintenance and lifeguards. Malcolm discussed the issue of pollution. The port has joined the lawsuit against the federal government. “The City Council decided to take a different tactic and initiated litigation. When pollution crosses the border, it becomes a federal government problem because they have to comply with the Clean Water Act. The federal government is in violation of the Clean Water Act. The Port thought it was the right approach. We don’t enter into litigation lightly,” he said.

On Nov. 20 the Port will unveil new signs around the bay and the IB pier enhancement that will be presented during the city council meeting on that day. “Twenty five years ago this area was a dirty parking lot with a chain link fence. This was a catalyst project,” he said of the area near and around the Dempsey Holder Safety Center. Malcolm said the first improvements on the pier will take place between January and June followed by a second phase through the end of the year.

Next he spoke of Seaport Village which was built in 1971. He said the bulldozers will come in the near future to make way for a new project on that site. “It doesn’t create the type of activity or world class feel we’re looking for,” he said of Seaport Village. The port has been operating Seaport Village after the previous operator gave the keys to the port last year. The preliminary sketches show a unique hotel tower which will change the skyline of San Diego and will include an aquarium, water making its way into land, and dining venues along the water. “It’s unlike any development on California or the U.S. It will draw people and activate and create opportunities to interact,” he said. The project will also include an urban beach. The planning alone will take another 5 to 7 years and the build out will happen in about 10 years

Another project that will soon start the construction phase is the Gaylord Resort Hotel and Convention Center in Chula Vista which plans to generate local jobs and will feature many amenities including a lazy river. This projects will start in 8 months and will open in 2023.

Malcolm also spoke of the Master Plan update. The port has held 100 community outreach meetings and has received input from residents. He expects the master plan to be finished between 2021 and 2021.

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