New ownership, other changes in store for Del Mar Plaza
For the fourth time in its 21-year history, the Del Mar Plaza has a new owner.
With that will come new tenants, new management and a new look.
DRA Advisors sold the plaza earlier this month for $41.6 million in cash to GLL Properties LP. Several new businesses will be moving in, there will now be on-site management, and the plaza will undergo some aesthetics improvements to freshen things up.
“We want to have more events here but we want to make the ambiance where it’s more conducive to having those events,” said Michael Hull, director of management services for Madison Marquette, who will work on-site beginning next month.
Hull said there would be new banners, lighting, furniture, heaters and some paintwork.
Kelley Maher, who has been the property’s leasing agent since Aug. 2009, said she has toured the plaza with some national retailers who may be interested in leasing at the property. She declined to specify which ones, but said these kinds of deals often take more than a year to complete. She did say, however, that these retailers would be “comparable” to a Banana Republic, which opened at the plaza in December of 1998.
“We have great momentum with the nationals, and then in the meantime we’ve made significant strides with strong regionals and local tenants,” she said.
Several places have expanded or will open in the coming months. Smashburger, which opened its first store in downtown La Jolla earlier this year, will open on the corner of Camino del Mar and 15th Street in July. The plaza considered four other “gourmet burger” restaurants before reaching a deal with Smashburger, which the San Diego Daily Transcript reported would run for 10 years at $1.37 million.
“I just think that’s a premier location with high visibility,” said the restaurant’s co-owner David Whisenhunt. “I think a lot of people from all parts of San Diego will go there to visit the beach and visit Del Mar.”
Flavor Restaurant and Lounge, which serves California Cuisine, will open in place of the now out of business Sunset Bar & Grill. Owner Jeff Hunter is partnering with chef Jason Maitland, famed for his work as executive chef at Arterra restaurant in Carmel Valley.
The unit is in the midst of a full renovation in anticipation of Flavor’s opening in late September.
“To be honest it’s a little bigger than I wanted to do, but it’s my first venture down here so why not swing for the fence?” said Hunter, a Rancho Santa Fe resident who already owns several restaurants in Canada.
Several new tenants or moves are occurring at the plaza over the next several months. Here is what’s going on:
- Sunset Yogurt and Ice Cream will open in June next to the Harvest Ranch Market.
- Del Mar Hat Co. will open in June on the 3rd floor, or Plaza Level.
- Saratoga Saddlery moved upstairs to the Plaza Level and opened a second store specializing in children’s apparel.
- Smashburger will open in July on the street level on the corner of 15th street and Camino del Mar.
- Flavor Restaurant and Lounge is scheduled to open in late September in the same unit where Sunset Bar & Grill was located.
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