The Avila Beach Golf Resort could be transformed into a classic seaside resort with 135 bungalows.
Avila by the Sea — proposed by San Luis Obispo developer Rob Rossi and his family — also would include a 12,000-square-foot spa, an outdoor pavilion to seat 1,500 people, a complete makeover of Mulligan’s Bar and Grill, new ponds and swimming pools, an event barn and snack bar.
The lodging would be built on part of the 18-hole golf course, reducing its size by around 25 percent, Rossi said.
The development is expected to cost between $60 million and $70 million and be open by 2021.
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This isn’t the first time ARB Properties L.P. proposed new lodging on site. It’s “been in the works for more than two decades,” Rossi said this week in an interview with The Tribune.
San Luis Bay Inn, which began with a conference center, two restaurants and amenities for golf and tennis, was converted to a time share in the 1990s. Ever since, golfers and wedding attendees stay at other hotels.
Rossi, who owns that too, said the idea for Avila by the Sea is to host golfers, event and wedding attendees, and others on the grounds in a “high quality, destination resort as it was intended.”
His team submitted an application to the county in 2015 to improve the golf resort’s entertainment aspects and build a four-story lodge, cottages and conference center, a plan that was originally considered in 2000.
The new plan – submitted for review last week to the San Luis Obispo County Planning and Building Department – calls for several smaller structures around the 170-acre grounds.
“The bigger buildings, we felt, were a little bit out of scale,” Rossi said.
The architecture firm on the project is Lake Flato of Texas and the design was developed, in part, after discussions with developers of resorts that share similar features, such as Solage in Calistoga.
Plans call for 135 units in 127 new structures that would include 114 one-, two- and three-bedroom bungalows ranging from 700 square feet to 1,600 square feet, 10 three-bedroom lofts at 1,900 square feet, and three six-bedroom guest villas at 3,680 square feet.
All of the structures would be built around the edges of the golf course and a preexisting pond – reducing the size of the green.
The golf course “would be improved in ways that make it more playable in shorter amounts of time. What’s becoming more popular is shorter rounds,” Rossi said, noting that the days of golfers willing to spend five hours on a game are dwindling.
Events and concerts at the resort are expected to remain the same.
Parking and traffic in Avila Beach have been raised as concerns by residents critical of further development in the resort town community, but Rossi is confident the resort can hold 2,500 cars without difficulty. “We have all the parking we need on the property.”
The project could generate $650,000 in property taxes and $1 million from tourist occupancy tax a year and could employ over 250 people. The resort now employs about 50.