La Jolla Cove Hotel & Suites terrace plan gets go-ahead from San Diego hearing officer

A rendering shows plans for a terrace deck over the parking structure at the La Jolla Cove Hotel & Suites.
A rendering presented to San Diego hearing officer Patricia Bautista shows plans for a terrace deck over the parking structure at the La Jolla Cove Hotel & Suites.
(Screenshot by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

After garnering support from La Jolla planning groups earlier this year, a proposal to build a terrace deck over an existing parking structure at the La Jolla Cove Hotel & Suites got the approval of a San Diego hearing officer Dec. 14.

The project at 1141-1171 Coast Blvd. calls for a coastal development permit for work that also would include expanding the hotel’s basement and the ground floor of the two-level parking structure and installing landscaping and a swimming pool on the top deck, said city project manager Xavier Del Valle. The location, which abuts the south side of the main hotel building, currently is used entirely for parking.

Del Valle said the project does not increase the hotel’s gross floor area or negatively affect coastal access or visibility from the public right of way.

The La Jolla Cove Hotel & Suites is in the 1100 block of Coast Boulevard.

The only opposition came via a letter from local architect Ione Stiegler, who called for “immediate historic preservation mitigation through restoration or rehabilitation of the [adjacent] Red Roost and Red Rest cottages” as part of the permit.

The Red Rest and Red Roost, built in 1894 at 1187 and 1179 Coast Blvd., are considered The Village’s oldest structures but have been virtually unmaintained for three decades.

After almost 50 years of private ownership and holdings transfers, the cottages were acquired in 2014 by Apartment Investment and Management Co., which in 2018 sold them and the La Jolla Cove Hotel & Suites to a group of investors in the hotel business.

Then, early Oct. 26, 2020, Red Rest was destroyed by a fire and Red Roost was damaged. At the time, the cottages were uninhabited and covered by protective tarps.

“The subsequent owners of the hotel continue to delay and defer and follow the ‘demolition by neglect’ approach of two historic resources,” Stiegler wrote in her letter.

Del Valle said plans for the historic cottages are being reviewed under a separate permit. According to a preliminary application last year, local firm Alcorn & Benton Architects looks to build a new four-story, eight-unit condominium building with an underground parking garage and rehabilitate the two cottages “to usable condition with modifications to provide for modern commercial uses [and] reconstruction of missing historic features.”

Review of the plan by the San Diego Planning Commission and Historical Resources Board and the California Coastal Commission is expected next year, a city spokesman previously told the La Jolla Light.

With no additional opposition, hearing officer Patricia Bautista said she could make the necessary findings to approve the hotel project. The decision can be appealed to the Planning Commission.

A previous version of the plan that called for a smaller parking structure and terrace in the same location was approved locally in February 2021. But the proposal was expanded, and the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee approved the most recent plan in March this year and the La Jolla Community Planning Association ratified the findings the following month. ◆