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Sunday, Oct 1, 2023

New PB Hotel Rides Wave of Surfers’ Success

Museum of Making Music

Will Open Its Doors

This Spring in Carlsbad

A $6 million lifeguard tower-themed hotel, restaurant and retail project in Pacific Beach will rise through the rubble of a local surfing landmark.

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After four years in the works, the new venture was recently launched by Pacific Beach property owner Vern Taylor and developer Brett Miller, proprietor of Moondoggies bars and restaurants in Pacific Beach and La Jolla, and The Dog in PB.

Named Tower 23 after a nearby lifeguard structure, the project includes a 40-room hotel and an upscale steak and seafood restaurant.

It also will have 83 parking spaces, a 500-square-foot retail oceanfront area and an observation tower with telescopes. Like most construction close to the coast, its height is limited to 30 feet.

Tower 23 sits on slightly more than a half-acre of the beach property adjacent to the area’s Crystal Pier. The location is occupied by local landmark Harrys’ Surf Shop.

That the shop won’t see the millennium’s first summer didn’t shock its owners, Donna and Skip Frye and Hank Warner.

They are known as legendary local surfers and board shapers, and the shop houses both of their businesses , Skip Frye Surfboards and Hank Warner Custom Shapes.

Named for Warner and Skip Frye, whose real first names are Harry, the shop opened in 1988. It was first across the street from the current location, then moved in 1990.

At the time, Skip’s wife Donna had noticed the location, which had become a hangout for transients and drug users, she said.

Upon contacting Taylor, the building’s owner, he told them he was planning to develop the property as a hotel and would give them low rent and a month-to-month lease, Donna Frye said.

The Fryes and some friends cleaned out the building and fixed its electricity and plumbing, she said.

It became a tourist magnet of its own for visiting surfers, drawing on the reputations of Frye and Warner, she said.

Nine years later as of last month, having a sign announcing the new hotel venture unceremoniously bolted to their front wall was still a dash of cold water, Frye said. She hopes the shop will find another location in Pacific Beach. Groundbreaking on the hotel project is scheduled for May 1.

– – –

New Museum: Sounds like things are, well, humming in Carlsbad, where the Museum of Making Music will open its doors this spring.

The California Coastal Commission recently approved amending the museum’s site plan to allow public access to the museum.

According to executive director Shari West, the museum’s collection, retail store and educational programs are also in the works for the museum, a $1 million project.

Scheduled for a March 5 launch, the museum is located at the corporate headquarters of the International Music Products Association. Known as NAMM, the organization is a professional group for the music products industry’s retailers, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and publishers, West said.

Currently, the museum is being largely supported by NAMM, but West hopes to make it more self-sufficient. The museum will be charging $5 for adults admission and $3 for children and seniors, students or active military with identification cards, she said.

Previously, NAMM’s collection was for its members and limited to objects that involved the business side of the music products, such as marketing.

Four years ago, as the organization came closer to its 100-year mark in 2001, the decision was made to further develop to museum and open it to the public, West said. Since then, the museum has been gathering instruments from collectors, manufacturers and other museums. It now has more than 450 vintage instruments.

The museum’s five major exhibits, organized into different time periods, has samplings of music from each era, historic photographs, and information on music product trends and innovations. The store will also take on a clearinghouse role for people who want to get involved in music, West said.

The NAMM site, located between the Flower Fields, Carlsbad Company Stores outlet and near Legoland California, should bode well for tourists, West said. After decades in Chicago and New York, NAMM came to Carlsbad in 1983, she said. It moved to the new location two years ago.

Status Chart: New boutique hotel Sunterra Resorts Harbour Lights opened in the Gaslamp Quarter on Dec. 29. The 59-suite hotel, which cost an estimated $8 million to build, is on 5th Avenue. The 128-room Hampton Inn Del Mar opened Jan. 7. The hotel, a $10 million project, is at the intersection of Interstate 5 and Highway 56, and will focus on the Del Mar and Sorrento Valley corporate clientele. Brian Parmelee was recently named general manager of the Four Seasons Resort Aviara, which recently gained recognition for having earned the Five-Diamond ranking from the AAA Club. Parmelee was previously with Four Seasons Resort Nevis in the West Indies. At San Diego Paradise Point Resort, Ritz Carlton executive Geoff Young was recently named general manager. He was the general manager of the Ritz property in Marina Del Rey. The Cohn Restaurant Group recently opened the Prado Restaurant, located in Balboa Park’s House of Hospitality. On another note, the company has closed the doors of its Hang Ten Brewery, which it had been operating in the Gaslamp Quarter near the Convention Center. Mimi’s Caf & #233; will be opening a Mira Mesa location. The Tustin-based restaurant chain, also has a restaurant in Mission Valley. Kensington Grill owner Tracy Borkum recently opened Chive, a restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter with a “New American” menu. Former Blue Point Coastal Cuisine manager Sam Dawe is Chive’s general manager.

– – –

‘Net Tourism: By 2002, hotel bookings via the Internet will generate approximately $3.1 billion in revenues, according to New York-based research group Bear, Stearns & Co. In 1997, that figure was less than $100 million.

In San Diego, Embassy Suites was one of the first local hotels to use virtual tours to promote their property. According to sales director Talene Lanuza, the Internet tours have boosted their sales and supported the hotel’s marketing efforts.

Checking In: The city of San Diego’s Commission for Arts & Culture recently announced that guidelines and applications are now available for its fiscal 2001 Neighborhood Arts Program’s festivals and celebrations. Sony Art Walk recently issued a call for artists to register for its next show, to take place in Little Italy on April 29 and 30. In last year’s event, $400,000 in artwork was sold and commissioned. The San Diego Historical Society recently received a donation of $275,000 for its photograph collection.

The deadline for the next tourism & hospitality column is Feb. 10. Rodrigues can be reached at (858) 277-6359, ext. 107 or via E-mail at (trodrigues@sdbj.com).


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