Port Intends To Rezone Grand Caribe Isle, Leaseholder Still Plans A Hotel - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

Port Intends To Rezone Grand Caribe Isle, Leaseholder Still Plans A Hotel

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Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2019 5:03 pm

While many Coronado eyes have been trained on the possibility of a hotel at the ferry landing, Cays residents have been worried about the same thing on Grand Caribe Isle. Rumors have abounded for years and plans have even been presented. But many believed that the threat was staved off through citizen action and a City Council resolution. However, current leaseholder, Keith Mishkin, says that he has plans that will be presented by month end to the Port and the public, showing an ultra-high-end (“5++ star”) hotel that would consist of a series of two-story cottages and a spa on the east side of his property and a parking lot on the west. This plan, he says, would be low density, providing not more than 50 units, would be very high end and absolutely beautiful, more beautiful, presumably, than the current boat storage yard.

Mishkin purchased the lease out of bankruptcy for seven acres of land real estate on Grand Caribe Isle and many more acres of water rights in November of 2013. About two years ago, he says, he got the boat yard up and running. But his intention was always to build a hotel, something, he says, is clearly stated in his lease as a right and which he always intended to do. In fact, he says, that at the time of the purchase, “The Port made it abundantly clear that they welcomed a hotel and were looking for revenue opportunities and supported development there pursuant to the entitlement and the lease terms.”

It seems that Mishkin has run into a few obstacles along the way, one of which is the Grand Caribe Task Force. That group, headed up by Kim Tolles, has long wanted this strip of land to be converted to green space to continue the preservation that is seen on the southside of Grand Caribe Isle.

The idea of a hotel is not a new one for this parcel. The prior leaseholder, Ralph Brienza, had also planned one for the location. According to reports at that time, Brienza had planned a 4-5 star luxury resort with 180 rooms and suites for the same location. That development was not met with much support in the Cays and Brienza ultimately was forced into bankruptcy on the project.

Tolles says that at that time, she organized the Cays Conservancy to protect that piece of land and, ultimately, to attempt to buy its lease. She says that “even if the lease allows for a hotel, port policy also stipulates that whatever the use is must be supported by the community.” She says that she spoke with the bankruptcy lawyers at the time and insisted that the lease not be marketed for hotel use since there was not community support for a hotel. It was nonetheless marketed for hotel use, and the Cays Conservancy didn’t have sufficient funds to compete with the outside investor who ultimately bought the lease, Mishkin.

Over time, Tolles says that she and others have worked to demonstrate that there just isn’t community support for a development on that spot. Additionally, the Grand Caribe Task Force worked to get the City Council to make a resolution supporting the effort to keep the North Isle green. That resolution was passed in May 2017.

Now, it seems, the Port may be on board, too. If it passes the current version of its master plan update, the land use for that parcel will be effectively rezoned to not allow for a hotel. She says, “The Port Master Plan Update is going to be fabulous for us because the Cays has fought for years to turn this into a park.”

Mishkin, however, has said that he will forge forward. He says that he intends to: “Vehemently oppose the proposed change in use of the leasehold interest [and] submit plans by the end of the month for a 5++ star hotel with 2-3 bedroom, low density, two-story cottages with incredible finishes and services and build out a marina to the north for guests with private yachts.” He says that his timing is tight partly because of the Port Master Plan Update process and because the market timing is right.

Mishkin adds that he has community support for development. He says that he has signed a sub-lease extension with the Coronado Cays Yacht Club (CCYC) whereby they will jointly use a piece of land adjacent to the Yacht Club for events. And, he adds that the CCYC has agreed to do a joint venture with him on building out a marina. Mishkin says, “The yacht club has signed an affirmative support in writing.”

A phone call to the general manager of the CCYC asking for comment was not answered by press time.

Mishkin says that he bought the land with the intention of building a hotel but that “a small contingent [the Grand Caribe Task Force] wants to do open space … but they have engaged everyone except me in their conversations … everyone we have spoken to has given tremendous support … over 100 people in the community who are members of both the CCYC and the CCHOA [Coronado Cays Homeowners Association].” His concerns, he says, are that “I have not been included in a single meeting with other stakeholders [and] I believe the well organized and vocal minority does not speak for the majority.”

While he wants to build a hotel, he says he is open to “discussing how to create a win-win.”

Tolles says, “We would like to buy him out, but it is a price way beyond what we can do.”

Mishkin did not confirm a number but said, when asked: “We are strongly pursuing a hotel. The task force has mentioned that they pursued buying it before we did. I said I am open to creating a win-win for the community …”

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