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SAN DIEGO-The $230-million Navy Broadway Complex project, which is the largest undeveloped site in the Downtown area, has another obstacle in its way—one that is major or being blown out of proportion, depending on whom you ask.

The Navy Broadway Complex Coalition (NBCC), a watchdog organization, is in the process of filing a complaint with the County Grand Jury against the Centre City Development Corp (CCDC). The coalition met with city officials yesterday before holding a press conference. The coalition’s attorney Cory Briggs said he had “no belief CCDC has the public’s best interest at heart. They are rolling out the red carpet for developers.”

At the center of the latest complaint are concerns over NBCC’s CEQA appeal, which was to be heard today, but has been postponed to Nov. 6, “without our approval,” says coalition officials. The coalition wants new seismic and traffic studies performed at 14-acre Navy site. The developers are currently going on a 1991 study.

As for the County Grand Jury complaint, CCDC officials tell GlobeSt.com, the issue at hand has been “blown out of proportion,” says Derek Danziger. “There was an error in the filing of paperwork. There’s no big conspiracy. There’s nothing to it at all.”

Since the project got the greenlight last year it’s been a lightning rod of controversy. Just last week, the San Diego city council voted in a closed session to file suit against developer Doug Manchester. The suit asks for reimbursement for the costs of lawsuits already filed against the project regarding environmental issues.

City Councilwoman Donna Frye said the lawsuit is to hold the developer liable for legal costs. “It’s a basic contact and all the city is doing is enforcing the terms of the contract,” noted Frye.

In 2006, private developer Manchester Financial Group was selected by the U.S. Navy to enter into negotiations to develop the Navy Broadway Complex along Downtown’s waterfront. At build out, the project will include a 327,000-sf office building that will be funded by Manchester in exchange for a long-term lease agreement with the Navy. Consisting of 14.7 acres at Broadway and Harbor Drive, the site is currently approved for 1,200 hotel rooms and 1.8 million sf of office space and about 180,000 sf of retail space.

Manchester officials were not available for comment, but in an interview with Real Estate Southern California magazine, which, along with GlobeSt.com and other online and print publications, is produced by Real Estate Media, Doug Manchester said he envisions something similar to the Time Warner Center in New York for the Manchester Pacific Gateway project. Construction on the site could begin as early as next summer.

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