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Tourism — Legoland Expansion Plans Stacked for Council Review

Construction Delayed

On Coronado Public Dock

The building blocks of a $25 million expansion at Legoland California is expected to go before the Carlsbad City Council on May 16.

New rides, a restaurant and a retail center are part of the plans, said park spokeswoman Jonna Rae Bartges.

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The changes are expected to increase the park’s estimated capacity of 15,000 people, but specific numbers are not yet available, Bartges said.

The expansion would be phased in over the next three years, with the first ride expected to debut late this summer. It will be a suspended 18 mph roller coaster called the Spell Breaker.

A major piece to the expansion will be the council’s approval on raising its 35-foot limit. City planners approved raising the height limit late last month.

In order to build taller structures, Legoland must increase the landscaped zone around the park, Bartges said. It’s part of Legoland’s agreement with the city, which was set up before the year-old theme park began construction in 1997.

For each foot that the park wants to raise its height limit, it has to increase the “buffer” area by the same footage, Bartges explained.

So far, the planning commission granted height extensions to three roller coasters, all of which are tamed for the 2- to 12-year-old park demographic.

One of the coasters, called the Technic Track, will become the park’s fastest ride, at 28 miles an hour, Bartges said.

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On The Waterfront: Construction on the public dock outside Coronado restaurant Peohe’s is taking longer than expected, sources say.

Most recently, the project was scheduled to be completed May 1, but the date was pushed to May 21.

The new dock will accommodate yachts up to 100 feet in length and has eight slips for boats of 50 feet and smaller, according to a release from Peohe’s.

It will also be the base for two water taxis from San Diego Harbor Excursions, the restaurant’s representative said.

Cast Changes: Steve Pelzer, executive vice president of sales and marketing for the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, recently left to start his own company.

Pelzer left to become president and CEO of a real estate company that will invest in distressed properties across the country, said ConVis spokesman Sal Giametta.

Pelzer had been with the Hyatt hotels for a number of years before joining ConVis three years ago. He had been the first general manager of the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine, Giametta noted.

Pelzer’s departure, which officially took place April 30, prompted several promotions at ConVis.

Christine Shimasaki, the bureau’s vice president of convention center sales and marketing, accepted Pelzer’s position.

Also, Kerri Verbeke-Kapich was promoted from associate vice president of marketing to vice president of marketing.

Taking Shimasaki’s place heading the sales for conventions at the Convention Center is Kevin Kamenzind, who had been second in charge in the center’s sales department.

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Checking In: Ruth’s Chris Steak House founder Ruth Fertel was in Del Mar recently for the May 6 opening of the county’s newest steakhouse. Yes, you might have guessed, marketers called it “A Ruth’s Christening.” ConVis and sandiego.com were already working together , the Internet company created the bureau’s Web site , and recently signed an agreement that will see the companies extending their relationship. According to a joint release, sandiego.com will be an official promotions partner and will participate in ConVis’ strategic planning. At the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Alice Baumstark was named director of sales and Dan Larson was named national sales manager. Locally based quick-service health restaurant Daily’s Restaurant is now heading into the quicker-service realm. The company recently opened a fast-food cart, which is being called Daily’s Express, at the Glasshouse Square shopping center near the Sports Arena.

The deadline for the next tourism and hospitality column is May 11. Rodrigues can be reached at (858) 277-6359, ext. 107, or via E-mail at (trodrigues@sdbj.com).

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