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New concert hall only one of planned changes in La Jolla

The La Jolla Music Society has paid $9,825,000 for property comprising the 7600 block of Fay Avenue for a new concert hall, and the proposal is just part of what's planned in the coastal community.

Phil Wise, a Colliers International senior vice president, said things are happening so quickly in La Jolla that he can barely keep up.

"It's amazing," Wise said. "We just created a map where tenants are going and it's already obsolete."

Wise said the La Jolla Music Society, now forced to perform at multiple venues, will be an enormous catalyst when it opens a new 40,000-square-foot concert venue in the 7600 block of Fay Avenue by October 2017.

Along with a 500-seat concert hall, the two-story building is expected to include a 150-seat space for smaller productions and the society's administrative offices.

The three-quarter-acre site on Fay was acquired this past week from Crescenzo 1 LLC, with Lyle Egan as its manager.

"Existing tenants will have ample time to find new locations in the village," Wise said.

Dr. Philip Low, president and chairman of Neurovigil, a neurotechnology company, said that tenants were not being given time.

Low said a Vietnamese restaurant known as the Pleiku Café was "unceremoniously forced out in the street" within the past few days, after it failed to reach an accommodation with the Music Society on its month-to-month lease.

"The tenants were also bullied into signing estoppel certificates," Low contended.

Low said his lease, renewed last year, extends until October 2018 and he has no intention of moving his firm.

"I might have been willing to go along had my neighbors been treated with decency," Low said adding that he's planning a lawsuit to keep his firm and remaining neighbors in their spaces.

Other tenants in the block include the Tapenade restaurant and the Christina Q Beauty Salon.

Officials from Tapenade said they plan to stay until the end of year.

While the La Jolla Music Society determines just how long its tenants can remain, it still needs approvals by the San Diego City Council and the California Coastal Commission before going forward.

Most importantly, it needs a projected $50 million including $10 million for an endowment fund. Construction could begin by spring 2015.

At 7611 Fay -- across the street from the planned concert hall, where Jonathan's Market closed in late May -- plans are moving for a luxury movie theater.

The theater operator known as Boffo will provide luxury seating, food and drinks to go with first-run movies.

The existing Jonathan's space will be enlarged to accommodate the venue's seven screens and dining area; parking will still be available.

"It will be interesting to see what happens in the La Jolla commercial market over the next 12 to 24 months once the new seven-screen theater and the La Jolla Music Society Complex opens their doors," Wise said. "Both of these enterprises will certainly confirm La Jolla is a destination well worth visiting for local patrons and tourists alike."

The redevelopment of La Plaza, 34,848-square-foot former Jacks restaurant site at the corner of Wall Street and Girard Avenue, continues.

"Little is known about the incoming tenants except that a prominent juice bar has signed a lease for second-floor space and the landlord is working closely with a well-known La Jolla restaurant operator to lease space on the top floor," Wise said. "Some women's boutiques have also expressed serious interest."

While plans move ahead for larger projects, new tenants have arrived in the village part of La Jolla this year, and more are on the way.

Earlier this year, The Futon Shop opened on Girard Avenue, just south of Pearl Street. Lola Boutique in the same property will open soon.

Additionally, Aly’s Pilates has opened up an exercise facility at 7868 Girard Ave. and Ortho Mattress will soon open at the intersection of Pearl and Fay Ave.

Other new tenants in the village include Lorna Jane, a women’s sports-related store to compete with Lululemon (Nasdaq: LULU).

Title Nine, a women's apparel store at 7855 Herschel Ave., will close its doors when the lease term expires within the next few months.

Several La Jolla retailers have relocated within the village. Hillside Artisans is a few doors south on Girard Avenue, and Francesca’s is moving from 1025 Prospect St. to Girard Avenue, next to Pink Zone.

Restaurants continue to want to come to La Jolla. Shorehouse Kitchen just opened on Avenida de la Playa in The Shores.

"We are also hearing that the owner of the remodeled Top of the Cove building is close to signing a lease with a major, local steakhouse for this premier ocean view Prospect Street location, and that Amaya will [change the] concept to that of a French bistro and will be renamed Bijou Bistro," Wise said.

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