|By Jim McLain, Ventura County Star, Calif.|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jul. 9, 2005 - A special Ventura County Harbor Commission meeting will take place Monday to review a Phoenix-based development company's plan to spend at least $19 million to convert Channel Islands Harbor's aging Casa Sirena Hotel into outlets for two national lodging chains.
Greystar Realty Partners will ask the Board of Supervisors this month to approve its proposal to buy the hotel's lease from Westbrook Real Estate Partners of Dallas, said Lyn Kreiger, the county-owned harbor's general manager.
County officials have spent several years seeking a buyer willing to extensively renovate the Casa Sirena, and helped negotiate the new proposal over the last three months, she said.
Under the plan, the 90-room annex section of the Casa Sirena -- across the park from the main building -- would be renovated and turned into a two-to-three-star economy hotel. The 175-room main section, built in the early 1960s, would be demolished and replaced with a three-to-four-star full-service hotel, Kreiger said. It would include a new waterfront restaurant to replace the Lobster Trap, a fixture for about 40 years.
Greystar is negotiating with at least two national hotel companies interested in having locations at the harbor, Kreiger said. If the proposal is approved, the smaller budget hotel probably could be renovated and opened late next year. Because new construction requires more approvals, the full-service facility would need considerably more time, Kreiger said.
Together, the two hotels would have about as many rooms as Casa Sirena has now, she said, and should attract more guests. Oftentimes, the annex section was closed most of the winter for lack of guests.
"This is great," said Kreiger. "With two separate products, you could operate both year-around." As part of the $19 million plan, Greystar said it would make $2.25 million worth of improvements in the Villa Sirena and Anchorage Apartments, also part of the lease. Representatives of Greystar and Westbrook could not be reached Friday for comment. Further details about deal were not available.
The County Harbor Commission is expected to recommend approval of the plan to the Board of Supervisors, which should vote on the deal July 19 or July 26, she said. The board's approval is required because the hotel is on county land.
Staff writer Audrey Reed contributed to this report.
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