Trio of new Village projects delights merchants association

By Dave Schwab

Three proposals for support and consideration were brought before the La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) at its March 14 meeting at the La Jolla Woman’s Club: 1) plans for a new high-end hotel in town; 2) plans for a promenade at The Dip; and 3) plans for a series of festive Saturday evening events in the Village.

“We’re working with the owners of 1020 Prospect St. in an attempt to acquire the building to convert it to a high-end hotel,” said Adolfo Fastlicht, a La Jolla resident representing Napa Valley-based Solage Hotels and Resorts. “We want to build 60 hotel rooms and incorporate a wine gallery with front and back outdoor dining, a pool and a bar, and fire pits on the rooftop.”

Fastlicht said the new hotel’s street-level lobby would be “very transparent,” allowing “the energy, what’s happening inside, to pull you in.”

He said one hurdle to be cleared concerns a change that would need to be made to the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance (PDO), the community’s development blueprint, which sets a limit on the number of hotel rooms allowed in the Village.

“It’s a number you wouldn’t imagine, just over 600 rooms (right now). It’s nothing (compared to the need in town),” said LJVMA President Phil Coller, adding the addition of a new, more modern and contemporary hotel would create “a different signature here.”

When contacted for comment on the proposal, a representative of the Prospect Street building’s current ownership declined discussion on the proposal.

Julie Matibag, of WSI Digital Marketing, pitched LJVMA’s board on Haute La Jolla Nights, a weekend-evening series of events using music and the arts to spur shopping.

“The intent is to bring foot traffic to the merchants on Prospect, Pearl and Girard by partnering with the arts community,” Matibag said. “We would bring in five or six musicians and ask merchants to have displays and activities outside their stores.”

For example, Matibag suggested a clothing store could have a runway show, other businesses could offer giveaways or cocktails and appetizers.

Peliminary plans call for Haute La Jolla Nights to be held Saturdays on June 9, July 28, Sept. 15 and Nov. 3.

More details will be forthcoming at future LJVMA meetings, Matibag said.

La Jolla architect Jim Alcorn presented a scale model and artist’s rendering for a proposed pedestrian promenade at The Dip intersection (Prospect Street overlooking Coast Boulevard.)

“It will create focus and a center for the Village, as well as a spectacular view,” said Coller.

In other LVMA news:

• Several bylaw changes were ratified.

Directors’ terms were altered to three, two-year stints rather than two, three-year ones. Directors must attend mandatory Brown Act training. Directors may appoint an impartial inspector from its members and directors to ensure fair group elections.

• Tom Brady recapped developments on a Village valet master plan.

He said parties are meeting to draft a survey that will be sent to merchants, property owners and businesspeople on Prospect Street from Cave Street to Herschel Avenue. “We want to get their input before we make a recommendation to the city on the application for new valet parking places in front of the restaurant going in at Ivanhoe and Prospect,” he said.