San Diego

New Restaurant in the Works For Shuttered Visitors Center

A familiar local landmark that's been closed for six years is now heading toward a future as a restaurant site.

A familiar local landmark that's been closed for six years is now heading toward a future as a restaurant site.

For more than four decades, it used to be the City's "visitors information center" on Mission Bay.

A lot of San Diegans have fond memories of the complex as a meeting place.

For out-of-towners, it was a helpful resource finding and booking hotel rooms and various tourist attractions.

The owners of the bayside restaurant project want Shoreline to become a convenient destination for dining and nightlife. Full disclosure: one of the restaurant owners is the husband of an NBC 7 Reporter.

"We think it's absolutely ideal,” says Greg Van de Velde, one of three partners in the venture.

“When do you get the opportunity to develop waterfront property in California?" Van de Valde asked, rhetorically, in an interview Monday. "And it really is the centerpoint of all of San Diego. So what a great place to get together and meet on the bay, and not have to drive too far off the freeway."

Plans call for $3 million worth of redevelopment on the nearly 3-acre site at the foot of Clairemont Drive.

The Cty had been inviting lease bids on the property since 2011.

Meantime, locals and visitors alike kept showing up at the building, only to find it closed -- and wonder what the story was.

NBC 7 reported on that at the time, explaining that online reservation services undercut the original lessees’ business model of reserving hotel rooms and promoting local tourist attractions that advertised through the lessees.

Shoreline's lease runs for 25 years, plus two 5-year options to extend.

It also provides for "grab and go" food and coffee, sale and rental of bikes and beach supplies, and Mission Bay park information services.

“I think it's a perfect location and a great space,” University City resident Lauren Martin told NBC 7 before she took off on a jog along De Anza cove. “I think it'll get a lot of business, for sure."

“Especially for weddings – nice view,” added Clairemont resident Miyuki Pashthin. “And for some of them, they’d have the fireworks from SeaWorld at nighttime.”

Shoreline's lease proposal, which was selected over several other bids, is expected to clear the City Council's approval process this month.

The restaurant could be ready for opening late next year.

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