San Diego Business Journal

Lowe Enterprises is well known for big development projects in San Diego County, and its latest announced local venture is also high in profile.

The Los Angeles-based developer is a part of a newly formed joint venture that will acquire and undertake a major renovation of the 60-year-old Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in Mission Valley. Dollar figures have not been divulged.

Lowe is teaming with AECOM Capital of New York and the local resort’s current owner, Atlas Hotels Inc. of San Diego, which opened Town and Country in 1953. And Destination Hotels & Resorts, Lowe’s hospitality management subsidiary, has assumed management of the 40-acre, 954-room resort at 500 Hotel Circle N., off Interstate 8.

Lowe Co-President Robert Lowe Jr. said the company plans to “refresh and reposition” the region’s fifth-largest hotel by room count, to capitalize on San Diego’s growing tourism and meeting business.

Over the next few months, the company expects to finalize a long-term plan for the property that will include new marketing initiatives and property improvements, Destination Hotels President Jamie Sabatier said. Infrastructure upgrades are planned throughout the property.

Lowe is the developer of the multiphase, $500 million County Operations Center project in Kearny Mesa, and it is spearheading a $90 million mixed-use development in downtown San Diego’s East Village, known as IDEA1.

Its hospitality management division has long overseen upscale local hotels, currently including Paradise Point Resort & Spa and L’Auberge Del Mar. In 2001, Lowe led a $70 million restoration of the historic Hotel del Coronado.

Lowe, which had been known for the past year to have its eye on the Town and Country site, had not submitted formal plans to the city, spurring speculation that it might be looking to replace the aging resort with completely new elements, such as offices, residential units or possibly a smaller hotel.

However, developer Douglas Manchester is proceeding with a planned $200 million mixed-use development at his UT-San Diego campus next-door to Town and Country. New ground-up development generally faces tight scrutiny from planners in traffic-clogged Mission Valley, where the city is updating the community plan.

For now, Lowe and its partners are focused on updating Town and Country, which was the city’s de facto convention center for several decades before the San Diego Convention Center was built downtown in the late 1980s — followed by three adjacent mega-hotels, two of them developed by Manchester.

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Golf-themed Restaurant Tees Up at Airport: Travelers who are golf buffs now have a 19th hole to call their own at San Diego International Airport.

A new themed restaurant called PGA Tour Grill recently opened in the airport’s newly renovated Terminal 2, the latest of several eateries that have made their debuts at the airport during the past year. Operators said PGA Tour Grill, the first location of its kind, is a partnership between global restaurant operator HMSHost Corp. of Maryland and the Florida-based PGA Tour.

The venue emphasizes healthy fare featuring fresh fruits and vegetables. There are flat-screen TVs to view golf tournament coverage, and interactive iPads with golfing tips.

In related news, airport officials have scheduled a June 12 open house, where the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority will be taking public comments and sharing concepts for future long-term development at the airport.

Officials said the authority is developing the next master-planning phase for the airport to meet passenger demand through 2035. The open house is slated for 4 to 7 p.m. at the airport’s commuter terminal on Harbor Drive, with more information at san.org.

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Bay Club Completing Renovation: Bay Club Hotel & Marina, a 105-room property at Shelter Island, is nearing completion of a $1.2 million renovation. The property remained opened for business during the work, which began in March and included an update of the property’s guest rooms, meeting venues, lobby and on-site bar and restaurant, now known as Quarterdeck.

The hotel, owned and operated by locally based Bay Club Hotel & Marina LP, opened in 1985 at 2131 Shelter Island Drive. A hotel spokeswoman said renovations are expected to conclude by month’s end.

Send commercial real estate and development news of general local interest to Lou Hirsh via email at lhirsh@sdbj.com. He can be reached at 858-277-8904.