|By Rob O'Dell, North County Times, Escondido, Calif.|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Aug. 24, 2004 - OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- Oceanside has one less candidate for a new beach resort across from the Oceanside Municipal Pier.
Pacific Hospitality Group has pulled its proposed hotel resembling the open sails of boats from the competition to build a resort on prime pier-side real estate, city officials said Monday.
Pacific's pullout leaves the city with four finalists.
C. Jay Scott, one of the city's four consultants for the hotel project, said the developer's decision to pull out would not jeopardize the process of selecting a new developer.
"Strategically, there are fewer projects to consider and evaluate -- it gives us less options," said Scott, who owns his own consulting firm. "But it doesn't derail the process at all."
Privately, city officials and other consultants said Pacific Hospitality had not been considered a strong contender.
Pacific Hospitality was the only one of the five developers that did not give the city a hotel chain that it was working with on the hotel project. The other four developers are working with either Marriott, Sheraton or Embassy Suites hotel chains.
In addition, consultant Maurice Robinson said Pacific Hospitality was one of two developers that did not provide all the needed information with their proposals, which made them "hard for me to evaluate." The other group that Robinson said was short of information was SDC LLC of La Quinta.
The three other finalists are SD Malkin Properties Inc. of San Diego, Pacifica of San Diego, and Faulkner USA of Austin, Texas.
Scott said all of the five proposals were short on information in some way, although some more than others. He said the city sent letters to all five developers asking questions about their projects and seeking more specific answers about them.
He speculated that Pacific Hospitality may have decided to move on with another project rather than answer the city's questions.
"It could be that rather than decide to answer questions and move forward (with the Oceanside resort) ... they just said, 'We'll just move on to our next project,' " Scott said.
Representatives from Pacific Hospitality Group could not be reached for comment Monday.
The four remaining developers will participate in a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Beach Community Center near the pier, where each developer will give a 15-minute presentation on the project and then answer questions from the audience.
The four developers are vying for the right to build a new resort on a 2.75-acre parcel straddling Mission Avenue across the street from the pier.
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