San Diego Business Journal

Developers Revise Fat City Proposal to Feature Hotels

By Lou Hirsh Thursday, April 12, 2012

Developers GLJ Partners and Jonathan Segal have submitted a revised proposal for the Fat City/ China Camp property in downtown San Diego, now calling for a dual hotel project instead of apartments.

The executive board of Centre City Development Corp., the city’s downtown redevelopment agency, is expected to begin consideration of the proposal at its April 25 meeting.

Developers’ original application for a 232-unit Fat City Lofts, conceived as a mixed-use apartment project at the corner of Pacific Highway and Hawthorne Street, was turned down by the chairman of CCDC in February, following a lengthy hearing process that centered on the compatibility of residential and industrial uses. The project also was opposed by Solar Turbines, which is located across the street.

The CCDC decision was appealed to the San Diego Planning Commission by the developers, who have now asked the commission for a 60-day delay to enable the hotel proposal to move through the permitting process.

An April 10 statement said developers now propose a six-story, 239,100-square-foot project that would include a standard hotel and an all-suites hotel with a total of 364 guest accommodations.

There would also be basement garage parking, two pools and spas, two dining rooms, meeting rooms, gym facilities, additional on-site surface parking and two retail/restaurant spaces totaling 2,500 square feet.

The midpriced hotels would front Pacific Highway, share a circular driveway with a covered porte cochere and incorporate the façade of the 1940s-era Tops Night Club, the predecessor of Fat City. Construction costs are estimated at $40 million.

Developers said they have garnered support for the revised project from the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Partnership and Little Italy Association, as well as Solar Turbines.

“Building a hotel on the Fat City site would represent a ‘win-win’ scenario for all, and we fully support the developer’s new plan,” said Solar Turbines President Jim Umpleby in the statement.

— Lou Hirsh