K. Mennem 11:56 a.m., June 19
There is a flurry of activity going on next to Horton Plaza downtown. First, renovations are well under way at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter Hotel, a property that earlier this year changed hands and is now part of the Pebblebrook Hotel Trust group. The hotel which sits between 1st Avenue and Broadway Circle next to Horton Plaza is an area buzzing with the sound of demolition and contruction activity. Second, the ice rink, sponsored by Sycuan and is an annual occurence, is being assembled just down the block and will open to the public Nov. 17th and will operate thru Jan.8th.
Passing by, the public might find an odd scene, such as a demolition crew working in the Westin’s former main lobby now wide open to the elments. The most interesting sight of all might be that of a crew member swinging a jackhammer at a staircase under the light of a still functioning chandelier.
The former owners of the property, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., will still manage the property. Starwood, which sold the property for a reported $110 million, has managed this 450 guest room site since 1996 and has agreed to a 20-year management with a two ten-year extension option. This particular building dates to 1987 and its distintive fountain and sculpture which stood out in front has been temporarily dismantled to make room for machinery to aid in renovations. The projected completion date, according to the Westin Gaslamp Quarter Hotel’s website, is early 2012.