Viscuso kills plans for Mike’s La Jolla nightclub

A sign at the corner of Girard Avenue and Wall Street indicates Panera will join the La Jolla scene 'soon.' Photo: Dave Schwab

By Dave Schwab
Staff Writer

What was once Jack’s apparently will not now be Mike’s as planned.

Buzz on the street for weeks has been that downtown San Diego nightclub impresario Mike Viscuso, who negotiated a long-term lease in July 2010 for the former Jack’s property at 7863 Girard Ave., was having serious problems with his plans turn the site into an entertainment complex to include seven bars, three restaurants and a nightclub.

Neither Viscuso nor the Bill Shrader, the leasing broker from Cushman &Wakefield, could be reached for comment.

However, Phil Wise, a commercial Realtor in La Jolla with Colliers International, said late Monday, “For better or worse, it’s (Mike’s) just not moving forward and ownership has to reexamine their position as to how they want to re-tenant or dispose of the property.’

And the Union-Tribune reported Monday Viscuso is finalizing termination of the lease with his landlord and has vacated the upstairs space, where he had temporarily relocated his corporate offices.

Viscuso acquired a little over 18,000 square feet of space in 55 percent of the multi-level building site including a ground-level coffee shop on Girard, the entire 2nd floor and mezzanine level and the entire 3rd floor for his corporate offices. In all, the corner building occupies 35,000 square feet.

Viscuso, who planned to call his remodeled venue Mike’s, had originally intended a Halloween 2010 grand opening before extending that to New Years and finally summer 2011. He said then it would cost about $3 million to complete the project.

The Union-Tribune reported Monday that Viscuso has reconsidered his position as “increasingly risky,” deeming it unworthy of pursuing further. They quote him as saying a slow economy and problems and delays associated with rerouting infrastructure for Panera Bread — a tenant preparing to occupy 5,000 square feet of space on the building’s ground floor — forced his decision.

Construction appears to have stepped up at the Panera space, although company officials could not be reached in the past couple of weeks.

A La Jolla resident, Viscuso owns nightclubs in Los Angeles and developed downtown San Diego’s On Broadway, Deco’s and Belo nightclubs. Last year he opened Boudoir nightclub.

Wise said the former Jack’s site has proven tough to develop.

“The site does create obstacles for the average retailer,” he said, noting only the Panera retail space is street level with Girard Avenue. “The rest of it you either go up or you go down,” he added.

But he was quick to add the space does have potential for the right owner.

“The space does create an opportunity for a retailer that can be creative and think out of the box and make the space work on a whole,” he said.

Wise said he believes Viscuso, though he may not have come along at the right time, was on the right track with redeveloping the site.

“Ownership was going in the right direction in trying to find one tenant, like Mike’s,” he said. “One large retailer that could take a majority of that space is an easier route for ownership to go, and for a tenant to be successful there, if it’s rented at a lease rate that is commensurate with the obstacles that the building presents.”

Wise noted a consortium of banks own the note on the former Jack’s property.

“The office market in La Jolla seems to be moving sideways,” added Wise. “There’s a tremendous amount of competition from the UTC office market, which is pulling tenants out of the Village. The draws are accessibility, lower rents and parking more friendly than in La Jolla.

Former Jack’s owner Bill Berkley, whose long-term master leasehold was eventually foreclosed on by his lender, closed the doors to his nightclub on July 30, 2009.

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Posted by Dave Schwab on May 23, 2011. Filed under Featured Story, La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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