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P.B. Co. moving dirt in first phase of development plan

By KELLY NIX

Published: April 19, 2012

AFTER MORE than a quarter century of planning, the Pebble Beach Company has broken ground on a long awaited development project that includes a new resort, homesites and a large spa, along with the conservation of hundreds of acres of native Monterey pine forest.

In the works since 1987, construction crews have finally started the initial phase of the development — a 285-space parking structure at 17 Mile Drive and Congress Avenue that will serve visitors and guests at the Inn at Spanish Bay.

“After 20 long years, it is almost surreal that we are beginning construction on the first phase of the Del Monte Forest project,” Pebble Beach Co. CEO Bill Perocchi told The Pine Cone Wednesday.

Using an excavator and other heavy equipment, crews this week began clearing nearly three acres of Monterey Pine Forest for the 115,000-square-foot parking lot. A chain link fence with dark green mesh was installed around the perimeter of the construction site.

When the parking lot is completed in mid August, vehicles will be able to access it from 17 Mile Drive and Congress Avenue, which will no longer be used for the inn’s overflow parking.

The P.B. Co., which will have a formal groundbreaking ceremony for the lot and a new driving range at Collins Field in early June, worked for years to get permission from the coastal commission for various elements of the project. Just for construction of the parking lot, the state agency required the P.B. Co. to obtain six coastal development permits. A hoped-for new golf course was turned down by the coastal commission in 2007.

After that denial, the company reached a deal with California Coastal Commission staff, and in May 2012, commissioners approved the current development plan, which also preserves 635 acres of forested open space, including large stands of Monterey Pines.

“It speaks to the spirit of perseverance as well as the cooperation between the county, [the California] Coastal Commission, and Pebble Beach Company that we have reached this milestone,” Perocchi said.

Even some devoted environmentalists previously opposed to the project lauded the preservation of Monterey pine forest. In January 2012, during a hearing before the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, coastal commission executive director Charles Lester said the plan is “one we believe strikes an appropriate balance between the protection of coastal resources — particularly environmentally sensitive habitat — and development potential in Del Monte Forest.”


Many changes

At The Lodge at Pebble Beach, the plan calls for about 60 new hotel rooms, an 83,700-square-foot parking facility, 14,300 square feet of conference center and meeting facility improvements and other changes.
Apart from the parking lot, the The Inn at Spanish Bay will get a makeover that includes 40 new guest rooms and the expansion of hotel and recreational facilities.

Spyglass Hill will see a new 100-room resort and 19,700-square-foot spa with underground parking, a new restaurant and lounge, hospitality and meeting space upgrades, and the construction of either a 301-space parking garage or a subdivision of 10 single-family home lots.

The Pebble Beach Equestrian Center will be demolished, and a new facility will be constructed that includes a covered arena, employee housing, barns and stalls, vehicle storage, parking and the relocation and construction of trail segments.


Lots of red tape

The P.B. Co. began its pursuit of the final build-out of Del Monte Forest when the land was zoned for up to 890 new home lots. The company offered three different buildout plans in 1992, 1994 and in 2000, when the company took a plan that included a new golf course to voters, who approved it with a 63 percent, “Yes,” vote.

Though that plan was unanimously approved by the county board of supervisors in 2005, it was rejected by the coastal commission in 2007 because the golf course would involve cutting thousands of trees.

The P.B. Co. decided to look at alternatives and began meeting with coastal commission staff in 2007 to try to find a resolution. In 2009, negotiations were finalized and the P.B. Co. agreed to ditch the golf course idea and a development at Sawmill Gulch Quarry.

The project also calls for the development of 90 to 100 single-family residential lots, trail work, drainage improvements and the reconfiguration of the main entrance to Pebble Beach at the intersection of Highway 1, Highway 68 and 17 Mile Drive.

“We are excited about the significant enhancements that we will be making to the resort over the next several years, starting with the new parking facility for Spanish Bay and the new driving range for Pebble Beach Golf Links,” Perocchi said, “as well as the 600 acres of native habitat being dedicated to the Del Monte Forest Conservancy.”

Mark Stilwell, Pebble Beach Co. executive vice president of real estate, has said the project will create more than 200 permanent hospitality positions and hundreds of construction-related jobs, and will generate about $7.5 a year million in taxes.