By Kathy Day
The neglected Top of the Cove restaurant property is on the market for $7.5 million, according to Mike Slattery, Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial, who has the exclusive listing for the property.
The 9,200-square-foot building with spectacular views of the coastline has been vacant since 2006 when it was purchased by James Brennan, who had planned extensive renovations. Brennan, a La Jolla resident and nightclub owner, obtained a loan from owner Sheila Lipin, who also invested in Brennan’s company. But parking and permitting issues slowed the project and then the economy soured. A lawsuit ensued, which was settled out of court. Brennan is no longer involved.
Since then, Slattery said, several potential investors have inquired about the property in recent years, but it was only recently that SGL Holdings LLC., of which Lipin is the managing member, decided to put the property on the market.
“The property is fully entitled and permitted for a major restaurant,” Slattery said, although it does not have a current liquor license. The plans, designed by La Jolla architect Claude-Anthony Marengo of Marengo Morton Architects, allow for expansion to 12,000 square feet. An investor or developer could also opt to build something new, he added.
Slattery also said that there are no historic restrictions on it nor are there any parking requirements.
Portions of a cottage built in 1893 were incorporated in the property when it became a restaurant in 1953; it was renamed Top of the Cove in 1955. The property changed hands several times, and for a time was owned by Ron Zappardino, who brought the restaurant back into the spotlight before selling it in 2006.
In its heyday it was known as a spot for a romantic — yet pricey — spot.
Today it sits behind a locked gate with a massive Moreton Bay fig tree overhanging the street. Passersby often stop and stare, wondering what became of the popular nightspot.
Slattery said the owner is hopeful with the wherewithal to bring it back will come forward with an offer.