By Mario A. Cortez
The Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce has a lot to look forward to this weekend. Founded in 1927, the local business association will be celebrating its 89th anniversary today, Friday, February 19 with a gala dinner at the Bonita Golf Club.
Lisa Cohen, CEO of the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce, has been at the helm of this organization since September of 2001. After 15 years of leading the chamber, Cohen recalled some of the challenges that local businesses in Chula Vista have faced over the years.
“We had a huge downturn of business licenses during the 2007-2008 economic recession. The City of Chula Vista lost almost half of its businesses. Since then, we have always been working on helping businesses that are currently in town, helping these expand, as well as bringing new businesses to Chula Vista,” Cohen shared with La Prensa San Diego.
With the outlook for businesses in the 2nd largest city in the county looking a lot brighter, the Chamber of Commerce has great things lying on the horizon, literally.
“Right now we are making sure we are ready to handle things coming our way. The Bayfront Master Plan’s use of 560 acres has now been approved. San Diego Gas & Electric is currently working very diligently to remove the power lines and switchyard near the Marina. We are watching development come to the Bayfront which will be the largest catalyst project on the west side of Chula Vista.”
This development, which will sit adjacent to Chula Vista’s Marina Park, will feature 1,445 residential condominiums with commercial
space and a boutique hotel. Rida, a development company specializing in resort hotels and convention spaces, is involved in developing spaces in this master plan. Not to be left behind, there is also cutting edge development coming to the city’s eastern end.
“We have the Millenia Project coming to the East side which is made up of 207 acres that already have their first leasing project available and have more projects which were just approved by the City,” Cohen highlighted.
The Chamber lists its primary role as representing the business community, promoting, protecting, and expanding the marketplace; enhancing its members ability to conduct their individual businesses successfully; and to improve the economic stability of the community.
“It is exciting to see state of the art projects coming to the City. This will help Chula Vista be a green and sustainable city. Sustainability attracts employers and that will definitely help put Chula Vista on the map,” Cohen continued.
The Anniversary will not be the only celebration at this dinner. The new Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce will be sworn in to officially begin their tenure as board members. This induction dinner will also see Kevin Marshall, President of local company Copy Link, take the reins of the Chamber’s Board of Directors as President.
“I like linking people together and when you think about what a chamber of commerce does with the City, the community, and the businesses, it links them all together to promote a good economic environment where everybody can succeed,” stated incoming Board President Kevin Marshall.
Marshall is aware of the great opportunities facing the city as he comes to his position.
“The challenges will be making sure there is a balance with the right type of development. Our city has this huge opportunity with the Bayfront Master Plan which is going to make Chula Vista a place to visit instead of a place that people just drive past. We want quality businesses and development here. If this plan is done right, the city will get the right jobs and people will want to come here,” Marshall added.
Marshall is very optimistic about the future for Chula Vista and its businesses.
“Overall, the outlook for Chula Vista is absolutely positive,” Marshall said. “We now have a huge opportunity to lay groundwork for future generations to be successful. We have the right leadership in City Hall to lay these foundations for our city.”
Lastly, the President shared some words about supporting local businesses.
“Spend your money locally. Visit a restaurant in town, shop at local business. Chula Vista has a lot of small businesses and we have to promote one city,” Marshall concluded.