The developer of the new Monterey Hotel in San Luis Obispo — the largest in terms of rooms of three separate hotel projects under construction by different ownership groups in the city — hopes it will be finished by the end of the year.
But Andrew Firestone said that his group is reluctant to announce specific target dates for opening of the new hotel, now under construction on parcels at 1845 and 1865 Monterey St., near the historic Monday Club. It will be one of the closest hotels to Cal Poly.
"Our main concern is getting everything exactly right," Firestone said. "The idea of having a date for finishing, or any specific target in mind isn't our priority. It's such an important project for us."
Still, Firestone acknowledged Monday that he hopes to have the 102-room hotel built by the end of 2018. Daily work is ongoing on the structure's interior.
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Two other large hotels downtown, Hotel Serra and Hotel San Luis Obispo, are scheduled to open in early 2019. They're located closer to the city's downtown center and will offer more amenities than The Monterey Hotel.
The Monterey Hotel is slated to feature three stories of rooms as part of a four-story building with a large lobby and 131 parking spaces.
Firestone, a partner with Jess Parker in the Santa Barbara-based development company StonePark Capital, said that the company isn't yet ready to announce when it will start hiring.
"We don't want to get ahead ourselves with the project before we take those next steps," said Firestone, whose company specializes in hospitality-related projects and management. "We get one chance to make an impression on a guest. During construction, things can come along and cause delays. We want to go step by step."
Firestone and Parker bought the two adjacent lots at 1845 and 1865 Monterey St. in October 2013 for $2.5 million.
Firestone appeared as a reality TV personality on "The Bachelor" in 2003 and is an heir of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co.
According to StonePark's website, the group originally planned to complete construction in late 2017.
The site also includes the San Luis Obispo building that previously housed Pappy McGregor's, a restaurant and bar that closed in 2017 after five years.
"We have some bad news to report. The hotel is behind schedule and therefore we have chosen not to reopen our SLO location," Pappy McGregor's posted on Facebook in February 2017. "It will be a restaurant again once the hotel opens, but unfortunately it will not be Pappy's."
Restaurant owners Troy Larkin and Donovan Schmit have since focused on business operations in Paso Robles, including a second Pappy McGregor's pub, new speakeasy-style bar 1122 Cocktail Lounge and Mexican restaurant Fish Gaucho.
The Monterey Hotel is expected to open ahead of two other new hotels located in San Luis Obispo's downtown core.
Hotel Serra, which will feature 65 rooms, is building a rooftop pool. Hotel San Luis Obispo will have 78 rooms, two on-site restaurants and meeting facilities for up to 350 guests.
A host of additional amenities are planned at both sites.
While city officials have projected a significant boost to coffers from new bed taxes, locals hoping to preserve views of nearby hills have decried the height and scale of the hotels, which soar well above neighboring buildings. Some critics also feel the hotels aren't in keeping with the character of the downtown area and fear a loss of parking.
The city is the midst of early planning to develop a new parking garage at Palm and Nipomo streets, but it likely wouldn't break ground until 2019 or 2020.