At 130 years old, the Hotel del Coronado has had an impressive history and numerous updates through the years, but the upgrades in the current Master Plan are substantial and will have a lasting impact on both the hotel and the community. Those involved with the project promise that it will be worth the wait and will keep it going in grand style for decades.
Let’s review an abbreviated timeline dating back in 2002, when the master plan for the hotel was originally approved. Beach Village, built in 2007, was part of this original approval. Designation by the State of California of a portion of the property being within an Earthquake Fault Zone forced a re-design of the plan. After going through Design Review and Planning Commission, the Amended Master Plan was approved by the City Council in October 2008, and by the California Coastal Commission in 2010. The Coastal Development Permit was issued in 2012. But the timing wasn’t right, due in part to the recession. “Ownership has determined that now is the time to start this ambitious project which will help position the Hotel Del as one of the best historic beach properties in the world,” commented Kathy Breedlove, Master Plan Communications Director, who has been on the project since 2006. The Blackstone Group L.P., a private equity and financial services company, based in New York City has been part of the hotel ownership since 2005. The hotel is managed by the Hilton Hotels as part of their Curio Collection.
Phase One will see the creation of the North Parking Structure, where the existing parking lot on R.H. Dana Place currently sits, and re-roofing of Grande Hall and the Historic Hotel, which has already begun. For Phase Two, the development will move to the south side of the property, with a new main entrance to the hotel with a signalized intersection and improved traffic flow; restoration of the façade of the hotel, including the front porch.
Phase Two will also include a new Conference Center with a 20,000 square foot ballroom, pre-function space, and kitchen; including a new 14,000 square foot Great Lawn area and 144 new South Beach Guest Rooms, which are approved to sell as Condo-Hotel with owner occupancy restrictions similar to Beach Village.
Parking is a key component to this project, and two new underground parking structures will accommodate the majority of parking. Almost 1200 parking spots will be available to hotels guests and residents utilizing the hotel. The new construction will bring the total guest rooms to 901.
This project will be completed over the course of about four years. There will be some noise and construction disruptions in the short term, but the end result will be well worth it for the residents and guests of Coronado. Some of the long-term benefits include: signalized intersection at Avenida del Sol with pedestrian crosswalk, and right turn lane at Orange Avenue for the new hotel entrance. Street improvements along Avenida del Sol, including raising the westerly end of the street and cul-de-sac to correct current drainage issues, and new landscaped sidewalks along Avenida del Sol with angled parking. This will allow better access to Glorietta Bay and the Recreation Center and Yacht Club and help connect the Village and the Strand. The new traffic signal at Avenida del Sol is still awaiting Caltrans approval.
Other improvements will be seen along Orange Avenue with a new landscaped sidewalk along Orange Avenue from Grande Hall to Avenida del Sol, and a paseo connection to the Coronado Shores beach walkway, with beach entry ramp for public safety and maintenance vehicle access.
Future projects include: renovation of the signature 1500 OCEAN restaurant and the sundeck; elevating and enhancing The Vista Walk with the Marilyn tree for better vantage points.
With 1100 employees, juggling everyone through this construction project is no easy task, but they are encouraging employees to use alternate forms of transportation and offering free bus passes to help in the interim.
Phase I has begun, so don’t be surprised to see fences going up, parking lot restriping, landscaping modifications, and more. Updates will be forthcoming about what’s going on behind the fences as the project proceeds and moves forward until completion in 2022. Some of the work will be visible, but other projects will be hidden behind the fences; we will publish updates so you can revel in the progress of the future for The Del and the Coronado community.