More changes are coming to the Orange Ave business corridor in Coronado. In September 2018, two prominent business spaces were up for sale – La Avenida Inn and the neighboring plaza.
In the last 12 months, the Shah family, including founder Ben Shah and his son Alex, purchased the nearly 32,000 square feet of prime commercial real estate.
Touted as a Class A retail space and boutique hotel, the Shah family first acquired La Avenida Inn for $10,486,000 in November 2018. The following spring, they completed their purchase of the La Avenida Plaza for $14,225,000. The plaza is home to numerous restaurants and retail shops including Stake Chophouse and Cotier.
No stranger to historic business purchases, the Shahs procured the landmark Santa Fe Depot, located in downtown San Diego, in 2017. Rescuing it from demolition, the father/son duo hope to revitalize and rehabilitate the historic building.
Amtrak still has a lease on the entire building, so plans are still in the exploration phase for potentially adding a rooftop bar, upscale office or event spaces, and a renovated waiting room for Amtrak riders.
As for Coronado, the family business already has roots here. Four years ago, they acquired the Bank of America Financial Center and looking to lease out the empty office spaces located on the 2nd Floor.
A San Diego native, Alex Shah said his “heart and soul is in this community.” He hopes to see local businesses, like a medical office, take up tenancy in the Bank of America building which boasts dedicated parking for its tenants. Shah said they are open to any possibilities regarding the upper level spaces.
And local coffee hotspot, Cafe Madrid, currently parked in front of Bay Books and next to The Henry, will soon move its barista business to the front of the Bank of America building.
The younger Shah, lead representative for Coronado properties, also claims plans are in the works to upgrade and expand La Avenida Inn. Some small improvements have already been made to guest bathrooms and flooring in the 22,000-plus square foot hotel property.
Shah has been in contact with the Coronado Chamber of Commerce, Planning and Design Review Commissions to understand the business goals of the beachfront community. He hopes to make the inn and retail areas “more pedestrian friendly.” A perspective that resonates with city officials and business leaders.
While La Avenida Inn may undergo more substantial exterior and interior transformations in the future, Shah wants to retain the Spanish Revival aesthetic of the plaza.
But, more change may be in store for the plaza. According to CBRE, a commercial real estate firm, two spots currently occupied by Island Realty and Earth, Wind & Sea are listed as “potentially available” on its website.
Aware of the “Kleege controversy” that precipitated the closure of many beloved locally-owned shops, like Bullshirt and Costa Azul, Shah maintains these leasing advertisements are “standard commercial real estate business practice.”
“These areas are hotspots and may entice future tenants willing to pay more for the going market rate.”
Shah insists their business vision doesn’t entail getting rid of long-standing tenants, but rather cultivate that relationship while balancing the business’s financial market prospects.
“When leases come up for renewal, current tenants get the first option to stay and renegotiate the terms,” said Shah.
Rachel Sandmann, owner of Earth, Wind & Sea, said she “isn’t worried” about CBRE’s advertisement and repeated Shah’s assertion about common commercial real estate practices.
She contends they have a had a good rapport with the Shah family business and notes only a few small changes have been made. “But that’s to be expected when new owners take over,” Sandmann remarked.
The most significant change on the horizon continues to be updating the outdated La Avenida Inn and Shah says he looks forward to developing these plans and sharing his vision with the community.