Dec. 28–An eight-story, 1.5-acre hotel and mixed-use project that has been in the works for over 10 years in downtown Oceanside is set to break ground early next year, officials said.
The Belvedere project consists of a 124-room hotel, 90 live-work lofts and 8,355 square feet of retail space on Mission Avenue just west of Oceanside High School.
City officials praised the project saying it will bring more tourists and residents to the city's downtown area and fill a prime location that now sits vacant surrounded by a chain link fence.
"It's going to be the gateway to downtown," said Rick Wright, executive director of MainStreet Oceanside. "It's going to signal that our downtown is changing. It's a great project."
Representatives for the developer, the Amidi Real Estate Group, did not return calls for comment.
The project was first proposed in 2005 and has gone through several revisions but is now going through its final "plan check," city officials said.
Originally, the project was supposed to be about 90 feet tall with a mix of condominiums, residential lofts and retail shops. The height and number of living units were later reduced and the hotel component was added.
The project stalled after the economy crashed in 2008 and led to the Great Recession.
Oceanside City Planner Jeff Hunt said last week that the $50 million Belvedere project is back on track and ready to begin construction the first quarter of next year.
When completed, the Belvedere will take up an entire city block, bordered by Horn Street to the east, Clementine Street to the west and Seagaze Drive to the south.
The project will also include a 344-space underground parking garage and other amenities such as a pool, gym, courtyard, meeting room and lobby.
Councilman Jerry Kern said he's excited about the project because it will bring more people to the downtown area and boost local businesses.
"Downtown will be a more vibrant community," Kern said. "It (the Belvedere) will support more restaurants and shops and all those things that you want to see in a downtown."
Nearly 20 years ago, the city began a process of revitalizing the downtown area by luring new hotels and trendy restaurants. Those efforts are starting to bear fruit, said Councilwoman Esther Sanchez.
"Sixteen years ago, we had practically nothing, just these old hotels that were like less than $100 to stay at," Sanchez said.
In recent years, the SpringHill Suites opened on Myers Street a block from the beach. A few blocks north, the Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort opened on Pacific Street near city's iconic pier.
Those hotels and their room taxes have helped boost the city's economy generating millions in revenue.
The city's transient occupancy tax revenues have increased from $4.2 million in 2013 to $6.5 million this year, said Assistant City Manager Deanna Lorson.
"Our tourism economy has been quite strong," Lorson said.
There are several more hotels planned with a combined 1,400 additional rooms, Lorson said.
Those projects include a beachfront resort on Pacific Street by S.D. Malkin and the renovated Dolphin Hotel on Coast Highway.
Developer S.D. Malkin plans to build a four star, full-service resort with 225 rooms on a lot along Pacific Street and a boutique hotel with at least 135 rooms on a lot across the street north of Mission Avenue.
That project was stalled in 2014 due to a lawsuit over a $13.6 million subsidy provided by the city to the developer. A state appellate court ruled in October that the city did not violate open meeting laws when it approved the subsidy two years ago.