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Element Hotel Shares Site with Marriot Hotel Mission Valley

REAL ESTATE: $40M Hotel Built on Tennis Courts to Open in 2026

SAN DIEGO – A seven-story, 150-room hotel tower is under construction in Mission Valley adjacent to the existing Marriott Hotel Mission Valley.

Designed by AO architects, with R.D. Olson Construction as the general contractor, the 98,000-square-foot Element is part of the Marriott family of hotels and The Mission Valley Element will share an outdoor courtyard, swimming pool, amenity deck, restaurants and an existing parking garage with the Marriott Mission Valley.

Bill Wilhelm
President
R.D. Olson Construction

Estimated to cost more than $40 million, Element’s location, sandwiched in between the existing hotel, a parking garage and the trolley, made the project particularly challenging, said Bill Wilhelm, president of R.D. Olson Construction.

“While it’s a benefit for hotel guests to have proximity to the San Diego MTS (Metropolitan Transit System) trolley Green Rail Line, it does restrict the architectural and construction approach,” Olson said. “A 15-foot retaining wall is necessary to increase the grade for the concrete building pad adjacent to the Green Rail Line while the MTS trolley remains active.”
The hotel is scheduled to open in the winter of 2026.

Element is being built on the Marriott’s former tennis courts southwest of the existing hotel and will have a separate entranceway from the Marriott and a 5,300-square-foot ballroom.

“We are designing this new Element Hotel to be unique from the nearby Marriott Mission Valley, with its distinguishing arrival area and placemaking, while still tasked with marrying the two properties seamlessly,” said Bruce Greenfield, a partner at AO.

The two hotels are linked by walkways with special paving stones.

Distinctive Character

Greenfield said that the site was always envisioned and entitled as a site for two hotels.

“The (Element) hotel is taking an underutilized portion of the property, the old tennis courts and some parking area, and converting it to a hotel to live up to the original entitlement,” Greenfield said. “They had put a tent on top of the tennis courts for meeting space, but it was a substandard meeting space because it was a tent.”

The new meeting rooms that are being built as part of the Element align with interior meeting rooms in the Marriott with a new shared plaza of about 10,000 square feet between them.

Bruce Greenfield
Partner
AO

“Even though it’s a tight site and it’s an existing (Marriott) hotel, we try to really play up some open space to give it a special feel,” Greenfield said.

Where the Marriott is a full-service hotel that tends to serve an older clientele, “Element is a younger and hipper kind of hotel brand and it’s pretty environmentally sensitive,” Greenfield said. “It provides filtered water, and they have bicycles in the lobby that you can take and explore and we’re right along the river, so there’s a great river trail behind us.”

Greenfield said that Element is “more of a select service hotel.”

“It’s a mix of some extended stay rooms where you have a kitchenette in the room and some traditional hotel rooms,” Greenfield said.

Although the two hotels are linked, Greenfield said that Element was designed to have a distinctive character.

“The Element brand has a more natural look, it has a wood frame, like a wood surface arch over the entryway,” Greenfield said.

The lobby will have glass walls that open to an outdoor patio of about 800 square feet and has ceiling art meant to mimic the flow of the San Diego River.

Despite the challenge posed by the site and supply chain issues and staffing shortages caused by COVID, “I feel confident that this project will run smoothly and on time,” Wilhelm said.

AO
FOUNDED: 1974
HEADQUARTERS: Orange
CEO & MANAGING PARTNER: Jack Selman
BUSINESS: architecture, planning, interiors, landscaping
EMPLOYEES: 350
WEBSITE: www.aoarchitects.com
CONTACT: info@aoarchitects.com; 714-639-9860
NOTABLE: AO operates from studios in San Diego, Orange, Oakland and Sunnyvale in California and in New York, Atlanta and Orlando.

R.D. Olson Construction
FOUNDED: 1979
HEADQUARTERS: Irvine
PRESIDENT: Bill Wilhelm
BUSINESS: general contractor and construction management
EMPLOYEES: 125
WEBSITE: www.rdolson.com
CONTACT: 949-474-2001
NOTABLE: R.D. Olson has built hotels and multi-family projects for such companies as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, MBK Living and Meta Housing

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