|By Sukhjit Purewal, The Monterey County
Herald, Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Business News
Aug. 16, 2006 - The guessing game is over in Seaside: Fairmont Hotel & Resorts will manage the hotel to be included in the mixed-use development at Bayonet and Black Horse golf courses.
The announcement was made Tuesday during a news conference at Embassy Suites Hotel Monterey Bay held by city officials.
The identification of the hotel allows the developer, Seaside Resort Development, to proceed with the first phase of house construction.
Seaside will sell 81 acres of the 380-acre golf course to Seaside Resort Development for the construction of the hotel, homes on 125 residential lots and 170 time shares. The sale of the properties and housing units will bring the city about $20 million.
Work on the first batch of 30 homes is expected to begin early in 2007. Hotel construction is not expected to get started until the end of 2007 and to be completed in 2009, according to Seaside Resort Development. Realignment of portions of the courses is already under way.
Donald Pitt of Arizona, one of the two principals behind the project, oversaw the day's announcement. Pitt's business partner and other project principal is Donald Diamond, also of Arizona.
The project, Pitt said, would mark Seaside's growth from "teenager to eminent person."
While details of the development have been known for months, the name of the hotel had remained a mystery until Tuesday.
David Shaklee, executive director of business development for Fairmont, said his chain is known for its stately hotels, pointing in particular to the San Francisco location on Nob Hill. Fairmont operates 46 hotels and resorts in the U.S., Canada and around the world. Sixteen are in the United States.
Mayor Ralph Rubio said the occasion was the "most exciting thing that has happened to me since my tenure on the council." Rubio said the development would bring the city not just revenue, but stature.
The hotel will have 330 rooms with 170 rooms in the main building. The remainder will be spread out in 14 bungalow buildings lining the 17th and 18th fairways. Included in the property will be a 250-seat restaurant, a convention center and spacious spa.
An interesting twist to the project is that the architect behind the hotel design, John Hill of Hill Glazier Architects of Palo Alto, is the son of John Hill, the architect who designed Seaside City Hall and Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, Pitt said.
The development has had its fits and starts, including a lawsuit settled out of court two years ago.
Using $11 million from Houston-based BSL Golf Inc., Seaside purchased the courses from the Army in 1997. In 2005, BSL sold its lease to B and B Golf Properties, the company created by Pitt and Diamond to manage Bayonet and Black Horse, for an undisclosed figure. The city contributed $5 million to the buyout.
The city had been receiving $100,000 annually from BSL. Under the new agreement with B and B, Seaside will receive 5 percent of golf revenues a year after the hotel opens.
Seaside Resort Development is required to build a new irrigation system using reclaimed water. The courses currently use 550 acre feet annually. Three years after the irrigation system is built, the courses will be allocated only 400 acre feet, the same amount used on Pebble Beach Co. golf courses.
Sukhjit Purewal can be reached at 646-4494 or spurewal@montereyherald
Copyright (c) 2006, The Monterey County Herald, Calif.
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