If all goes according to plan, a new hotel will eventually rise on the Hillcrest property where once stood Pernicano's and Casa di Baffi restaurants. The property fronts on both Fifth and Sixth avenues in Hillcrest, south of University Avenue.
The property has remained vacant for more than 25 years because restaurateur George Pernicano refused to sell. The now-ill family patriarch is no longer calling the shots, said Jeannine Savory, realtor with the Savory Group/Harcourt Pacific Realty. The Pernicano family will make the final decision and, according to Savory, an announcement on the property's sale is forthcoming, perhaps “in a few weeks.”
The property consists of four parcels: 3833 Fifth Avenue and 3818-24, 3828-30, and 3840 Sixth Avenue. It's zoned for multifamily residential and commercial development; the asking price was $12 million.
Savory said the family has "only entertained offers from parties interested in a hotel component.” Potential buyers/proposals have all come from local developers who are familiar with Hillcrest and understand that community's concerns, said Savory.
Strong support for a hotel in Hillcrest has come from the neighborhood's hospitals. Past community input has indicated that residents and business owners generally welcome a hotel project, as long as it includes a community facility, has street-level retail space, and that it's limited in height. Savory said the height is currently proposed at 65 feet (seven stories). Parking will be underground.
Luke Terpstra, chairman of Hillcrest Town Council, said, “I am excited to learn that we may have a hotel project. I think it will be great for Hillcrest. I am happy that height limits will be respected, however this is one location where a little extra height would be acceptable.”
The selected buyer/developer will submit draft plans to Uptown Planners. Uptown Planners is the official advisory board to the City of San Diego concerning development projects in the Uptown areas including Hillcrest.