BY DAVE SCHWAB
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, a member of Eddie V’s Restaurants Inc., a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based steak and seafood chain, has signed a lease for the former Chart House site at 1270 Prospect St.
“This will be Eddie V’s first steakhouse in Southern California,” said Bill Shrader of Cushman & Wakefield, the commercial real estate firm representing lessor Don Allison, who has owned the property since 1992.
No details of the transaction were released.
“It’s high-end seafood and prime steaks, very high-quality food with extensive wine choices,” said John Rigau of Specialty Retail Properties in Scottsdale, Eddie V’s real estate broker. “We’re shooting for a May (2011) opening.”
Rigau said the new La Jolla restaurant site is being customized — “We intend to create something very unique."
Rigau said Eddie V’s two owners are Guy Villavaso in Scottsdale and Larry Foles in Austin, Texas.
In a phone interview Thursday, Villavaso said the deal to acquire the old Chart House site in La Jolla took a while to put together because of its complexity and the economy.
“We looked at the property a couple years ago and actually met with Don Allison and he took us through it and we were very excited about it,” he said. “But it was very difficult to get our hands around the construction costs on that cliff, and with all the issues with the Coastal Commission, we were concerned that it was a little overwhelming at the time.”
But Villavaso said due diligence by Allison convinced him the time now was right.
“He really did the hard work, got the structure’s foundation and shell built and got it permitted and we re-engaged about six months ago, worked through our issues and signed the lease last week,” he said.”
Villavaso characterized the old Chart House site as a one-of-a-kind opportunity.
“The asesthetics of the real estate is spectacular,” he said. “I’m just thrilled to have the opportunity to win over the local community.”
Construction work on the La Jolla oceanfront restaurant site has been ongoing for about a year. Shrader, the leasing agent, noted the old Chart House building is being completely rebuilt and expanded.
“The new premises is going to be three levels consisting of approximately 9,300 square feet,” he said. “They’re going to have rooftop dining as well.”
On its web site, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood said its menu was inspired from the great classic seafood restaurants of New Orleans, San Francisco and Boston.
There is a historical issue involved with the 1270 Prospect St. site, which was where La Jolla’s famed Green Dragon Colony was housed. The colony opened in 1894 and became a hotbed for artists, novelists, composers, and others invigorating La Jolla in its early history.
Although the last traces of the colony were knocked down by 1949, some artifacts remain in odd places — such as a fireplace from one cottage, which found its way into the now-defunct Chart House restaurant.
That fireplace, and at least one other historic feature, a beam inscribed in German, remains on the site.