What if you had a fairly well maintained, 23-unit motel, two blocks from the beach, and during the first week of spring break, nobody checked in?
Such is the case of the Scandia Motel at 2550 Carlsbad Village Drive (Coast Highway). The motel is one of the last remaining “motor courts” along Coast Highway in North San Diego County. In Carlsbad since the 1950s, the paint color scheme appears a little old and faded, but the lawn is green and mowed, and spring flowers lining the parking lot are in full bloom.
Yet the guest parking in front of each motel unit has been empty for weeks. I thought it was out of business, but each time I passed, the front door of the office was opened.
On March 20 I stopped by and rang the little desk bell several times. I walked around the property yelling “hello?” — still nothing. I then called the phone number listed; let it ring at least 10 times.
An older woman, identified by others as Mrs. Ljubicam, finally answered as I walked into to the darkly paneled registration lobby adorned with yellowing signs. I tried to ask her several questions as to why the motel was vacant, usually not getting more of a response than some shoulder shrugs. She simply said, “It is slow.”
I had to narrow down my questions just to find out how much the rooms rent for. I asked, “Higher than 75 a night? Lower than 50?” She then finally answered, “55 dollars a night plus tax.”
Others Carlsbad Village Drive business owners said Mrs. Ljubicam is very selective as to who she rents to.”
According to county records, the Ljubicam family appears to have owned the business since at least 1999. “Her husband passed away, and she’s trying to do it all herself,” said one storeowner.
Amy McNamara, with the commercial real estate firm of Cushman Wakefield, is the agent trying to lease two one-story commercial offices, which are owned by the motel. The coast highway-facing offices border the Army Navy Academy’s new athletic complex.
McNamara assured me she only represents the leasing of the offices, which she hopes to rent out to visitor-serving businesses. “The motel is not for sale. The owner is running it the way she wants to.