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Hospitality report: Comings and goings

Several closures, remodels and new businesses around town

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As we turn the page to a new year, so does the hospitality industry -- there are quite a few businesses going through closures, remodels and buyouts, in and around downtown San Diego.

In the Gaslamp Quarter, Rock Bottom Brewery’s 15-year lease at 401 G Street recently ended and the restaurant/brewery has closed. The Roof Acquisition Company LLC signed a 10-year $4.2 million lease for the space and plans to opens the Nashville-based Tin Roof restaurant and music club.

The 11,235-square-foot property is owned by Carriage Works LLC. Messages left for the company were not returned at the time of publication for further comment on when the Tin Roof will open, and why San Diego was chosen as the company’s first location on the West Coast.

Down the street on the corner of Fourth Avenue and J Street, a designer office is being morphed into a Chinese restaurant.

Lucky Lou’s will be a 3,000-square-foot eatery on the first floor of a condominium complex.

Rodolfo Farber, partner and co-founder of Jaime Partners, which is performing the tenant improvements, said Lucky Lou’s will have a historic feel, since the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is only one block away from the restaurant.

“The restaurant will center on an open kitchen where guests can see their food prepared,” Faber said. “The furniture will be very antique and go along with the historical theme.”

Lucky Lou’s is owned by Asian Kitchen Concepts’ Alex Thao. The details of the lease was not released, however tenant improvements will be about $900,000 according to Farber.

Thao has also recently completed another project in Hillcrest, the rebranding of the former Celadon into French Concessions, a dim sum-centric restaurant.

Jaime Partners remodeled the 3,500-square-foot eatery at 3671 Fifth Avenue in just three weeks. Work included new flooring, painting, new lighting fixtures, electrical work and new furniture. The kitchen did not get renovated, but did receive new equipment.

The restaurant’s name and décor is inspired by the French settlement in Shanghai and how it looked in the 1930s. French Concession has a chic Parisian ambiance to recreate the historic feel of the “Paris of the East,” Thao said.

“Our executive chef, Andrew Kwong, is a Hong Kong native, and has worked at many award-wining restaurants in China,” Thao said. “There is no doubt that San Diego locals will be impressed by the recipes and flavors he brings to the table.”

The transformation into French Concession cost $15,000, according to Farber.

French Concession’s menu and weekend brunch consists of approximately 30 dim sum items, 10 classic Chinese dishes and a wide selection of local and Asian craft beers, as well as an eclectic wine list. The restaurant seats 60 in the dining room, 30 in the bar area and another 15 on the patio.

Back in downtown, the Sheraton Suites adjacent to Copley Symphony Hall on Seventh Avenue and B Street has become the Declan Suites, and is operating under new management. The property was not sold.

This independent property offers 264 two-room suites for the technology savvy traveler: Interiors by Los Angeles-based Design360unlimited include a live-feed video wall, communal technology area, local art and a “musically engaging” lobby, among others. New amenities include bicycles, available by loan, to explore the city with.

The Declan Suites also plans to remodel the hotel next spring, and transform the guest rooms, lobby, restaurant and bar.

The estimated price tag of the remodel and new lease has not disclosed, but it will be a multimillion dollar project, according to a spokesperson.

“We are thrilled to integrate the Declan Suites into San Diego’s cultural landscape,” said Alex Dallocchio, general manager. “Next door to the Symphony Orchestra, blocks away from Balboa Park’s cultural venues and in the artistic heart of downtown, the hotel will become a place where art, technology and music intertwine to create a distinctive hotel experience.”

In Little Italy, an abandoned structure and property at Kettner Boulevard and Grape Street is turning into a restaurant and bar.

The owners of Firehouse Pacific Beach is creating a similar establishment and vibe with Kettner Exchange, which will have a terrace on the second floor and patio seating. The 100,000-square-foot eatery will also have green space and a donut shop, as well. It is another local project that Jaime Partners is working on, and is estimated to cost $4.5 million.

“The décor will have trees, wood finishes, lots of green elements, with intimate spaces” said Jaime Partners’ Farber. “It will be very American with a bit of contemporary menu.”

Jsix Restaurant & Lounge at the Hotel Salomar is also closing on Dec. 16 for a major renovation. The space, menu and bar are being changed, but the name and chef will stay the same. It will be closed until mid-February.

Donovan’s Prime Seafood will serve its last meal Dec. 23. There has been no word on who will take over the lease at 333 Fifth Avenue.

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