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Martin A. Brower's Along the Coast

CenterPointe Senior Living of Newport Beach is set to take the spot of iconic restaurant Kitayama.

New Owners Overhaul Casa Laguna
The iconic, romantic, 23-room Casa Laguna hotel, built in the early 1900s on Coast Highway in south Laguna Beach, has been purchased by PRG Hospitality of Santa Monica and completely renovated and redecorated by noted Los Angeles designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard. Although the boutique hotel is on the inland side of Coast Highway, it is on a hilltop with views of the Pacific Ocean from a number of rooms, suites and the secluded swimming pool.

A labyrinth of intimate guest rooms including five suites, Casa Laguna presents guests with an adventure of winding pathways and hidden corners leading to an intimate lobby. In his re-design of the hotel, Bullard used Moroccan influences with Moorish tiles and ceramics and introduced custom fabrics and even ceiling décor in the guest rooms.
Special features of Casa Laguna include an intimate spa offering a variety of treatments; an 800-square-foot guest house; and a European continental breakfast. Room and suite rates for early June range from $380 to $500.

South Coast Metro Adds Hotel
A 15-story, 150-room hotel tower is planned as an addition to the six-story, 238-room Avenue of the Arts hotel in Costa Mesa’s South Coast Metro district. Formerly called the Wyndham, the hotel – home to the Silver Trumpet restaurant – is adjacent to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. At one time, the Avenueof the Arts hotel planned to add a 23-story, 120-unit condominium tower.

The current surge in demand helped drive the change in plans for the hotel, owned by the Tribune Portfolio arm of Starwood. Included in the plans for the new hotel tower is replacement of the three-story parking structure with a six-story structure.
The city of Costa Mesa is processing the change in use from the previously approved condo tower to a hotel tower.

Sayonara for Kitayama?
Oh, no! The beautiful Japanese restaurant Kitayama, on Bayview Place in Newport Beach, might have to close.

Kodaka Inc., the Los Angeles owner of the property where Kitayama is located, which includes a large parking lot, has sold the site to CenterPointe Senior Living of Newport Beach for a convalescent and congregate care facility. CenterPointe plans to clear the site and erect a 128-unit, 144-bed, five-level facility with one level of subterranean parking.
Moving quickly, CenterPointe hopes to begin construction as soon as January and to open the facility in spring 2018. If all goes as planned, the many loyal followers of Kitayama will be disappointed.

Marywood Pastoral Center Property to be Developed into Homes
A hilltop site in Orange is about to be transformed into 40 executive homes.
The 15-acre site just east of the 55 was once the campus of a Catholic girls school before becoming the  headquarters of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, called Marywood Pastoral Center, in the 1970s. When it moved its headquarters to the former Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove in 2012, the diocese put the Orange campus up for sale, assuming the purchaser would use the complex for a school or offices.  Instead, the New Home Co. of Aliso Viejo recently purchased the campus for a rumored $19 million.
Plans are to clear the site and create a community of 40 executive homes in the 3,800- to 4,400-square-foot range with models possibly open by early next year.

Corona del Mar Sidewalks to Widen
Although the community of Corona del Mar was annexed to the city of Newport Beach in 1923, the Corona del Mar Business Improvement District, representing businesses mostly along East Coast Highway, still wants motorists traveling south to know when they are entering the quaint Corona del Mar area, which begins near MacArthur Boulevard.
Working with the city of Newport Beach for a number of years, the improvement district is finally completing a project that includes replacing some parking by widening the sidewalk and installing new landscaping between Begonia and Carnation streets.

Initial plans were to remove a third lane of East Coast Highway, which merges into two lanes near Carnation, but experiments using traffic cones drew opposition from residents. As a result, that plan was dropped in favor of widening the sidewalk, which also provides for better pedestrian movement.

FivePoint’s Commercial Development at Great Park Underway
So much has been written about the residential development in FivePoint Communities’ Great Park Neighborhoods in Irvine, it is easy to forget that FivePoint’s master plan for its 2,500 acres of land bordering the Orange County Great Park includes 5 million square feet of commercial development.

But FivePoint has not forgotten. Initial plans called for developing a 73-acre site near the sector of its property just south of Trabuco Road. Plans filed with the city of Irvine some time ago call for 1.2 million square feet of multi-use development including what FivePont calls “medical and science and community commercial” including some retail for local residents. The planned 704,000 square feet of office space would include a group of five-story office buildings and a complex of three-story offices arranged in a “creative campus.” No timing has been announced, and reports are that development could be at least a year off.

But construction is underway on the 73 acres that FivePoint sold to Broadcom Corp. for what was to be a multibuilding campus into which Broadcom would move from leased offices in University Research Park in Irvine. The first phase was to include 1.1 million square feet of offices in five buildings.

Alas, Broadcom has since been acquired by Avago Technologies of Singapore, and the new headquarters for Broadcom are in San Jose. The Irvine chip maker began advertising for sale two of the buildings now under construction. The buildings, located on the northeast side of the campus, have just over 378,000 square feet, according to sales brochures. Broadcom is also now selling off 32 acres plus 450,000 square feet of future building rights, or almost half of its future expansion capacity.

The question is, might this affect FivePoint’s timing of its own proposed office development?

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