SeaPort Marina Hotel has at long last closed, and plans to redevelop the land on the southeast corner of Second Street and Pacific Coast Highway are moving forward.
Redevelopment of Second and PCH has been controversial literally for decades. The current owners, the Lyn family, doing business as Takisun Inc. began looking for redevelopment options shortly after buying the property.
Building giant Lennar Homes took the first run at a multi-use development with residential components, but was turned away at the City Council level due to the many conditional use approvals needed. A second partnership also sought a mixed-use redevelopment with residential and a boutique hotel. That attempt died in late 2011.
Then last summer, a new partner surfaced. CenterCal Properties LLC, a commercial developer based in El Segundo, formed a joint partnership with the Lyns — the Lyns contributed the land and CenterCal promised the money necessary to complete the redevelopment.
Two weeks ago, Raymond Lyn began the process of shutting down the aging hotel, according to spokesman Alex Cherin. Reservations and bookings were stopped, and both long-term residents and businesses operating on the property were asked to vacate.
“The closure is going on as we speak,” Cherin said Monday. “We expect it to continue for about two weeks, then we’ll look at demolition going forward.”
Cherin and CenterCal officials Steve Shaul and Jean Paul Wardy said the new development proposal fits within current zoning regulations, so approval is expected. The new, still unnamed, center is all retail and commercial, with no building higher than the current 35-foot height limit.
“The problem with the previous proposals was that required spot zoning,” Wardy said. “All of our project fits within the current SEADIP (Southeast Area Development and Improvement Plan) zoning, and the proposed Southeast Area Specific Plan allows even denser development there.”
Specifically, the Second and PCH project is anchored by a 55,000-square-foot Whole Foods Store (moving from a current location in the Marina Shores Center) accompanied by another 95,000 square feet of retail, a 25,000-square-foot fitness/health club, 70,000 square feet of restaurant uses and 1,150 parking spaces.
The parking would be both surface and in two parking structures. There will be three levels of parking in one garage, but the levels will be short enough to fit within the 35-foot height limit. The number of spaces complies with the five spaces per 1,000 square feet of commercial space.
The plan has been with the city’s Planning Bureau since November, and a community meeting for feedback took place that month, as well. An Environmental Impact Report is being prepared now, with a target of presenting it to the Planning Commission in June, Shaul said.
Craig Chalfant, lead for the project with the city’s Planning Bureau, said that consultant Eyestone Environmental is preparing the EIR. A draft is scheduled to be released In April, with a Planning Commission hearing in September,
Shaul said the center could open as soon as fall 2018. Whole Foods is the only business with a confirmed lease so far, Shaul said.
Harry Saltzgaver can be reached at email@example.com.