The American Tin Cannery is completely reimagined—and expanded—in hotel plans submitted to Pacific Grove on June 11.
Over its long history, the ATC has been through some tough times, and with it so has the city of Pacific Grove. The sardine canneries came and went, so no more cans needed to be manufactured there.
In the 1980s it was reinvented into an outlet mall, but eventually failed to find its niche in the market. It’s still open, with a handful of restaurants and stores and arts spaces, but much of it remains a cavernous and empty building.
A plan to turn the ATC into a luxury resort hotel dubbed Project Bella in 2015 got city officials excited with a dream of a new future and future tax revenue. They convinced residents to support a zoning change during a special election in April 2016, but within several months the dream started fading. The relationship between the development company’s partners spun apart. Plans for the promised hotel never materialized and city officials were criticized for failing to hold the developers accountable for costs accrued by the city.
But plans by a new developer are promising a completely different future for the old cannery.
Comstock Homes operating as CCS Pacific Grove Manager LLC, presented the city with detailed drawings for a 225-room hotel with 304 parking spaces that will rise up around the original cannery building and fill the entire property’s footprint, right up to the rear of the Pacific Grove Visitors Center and the retail building home to Il Vecchio restaurant that faces Central Avenue.
Just a small portion of the ATC would be demolished to create a courtyard facing Ocean View Boulevard. The rest would be renovated to hold a 6,300-square-foot ballroom, meeting rooms, a brew pub and retail space. The drawings show the popular First Awakenings restaurant remaining right where it currently sits along Eardley Avenue.
What will rise around the ATC includes architecture that evokes the old canneries using materials like corrugated metal—a feature of what the developer is calling the family wing, sitting alongside the ATC where an existing warehouse and neighboring building face Ocean View. Drawings of the executive wing sited above those buildings illustrate a more sleek, modern look with large windows, exposed architectural concrete and redwood-style siding.
The 243,600-square-foot site would mean removing Sloat Avenue between Dewey Street and Eardley Avenue and all of the parking lot above Sloat.
Most of the 304 parking spaces would be underground, while a current ATC parking lot facing Central Avenue is proposed as 44 valet parking spaces.
An artists’ rendition of what the hotel buildings might look like from the bay shows a distinctive change to the shoreline. The buildings step up the hillside from Ocean View at the bottom to the top of the hill behind the Pacific Grove Visitors Center and Il Vecchio restaurant.
Pacific Grove City Manager Ben Harvey says the city has 30 days to review the plans and determine is they are complete. The city is contracting with Monterey-based Rincon Consultants to do the review.
“This is a very large project, and we want to make sure it gets its proper review and treatment,” he says.
After the city came under scrutiny and received a lot of criticism for not collecting reimbursement money from the Project Bella developers to cover consulting costs, this time officials made sure Comstock signed an agreement and paid $60,000 to reimburse the city for previous consulting work. The check and some partial plans were delivered on June 7.
Application fees paid to the city will be “just south of $20,000,” Harvey says, but on top of that there will be additional fees related to the environmental impact report, filing with county, the coastal overlay zone and other considerations.
He’s waiting to determine next steps until the submitted plans are determined to be complete.
Calls to the developer’s director of entitlements, Debra Geiler, went unreturned. In February she told the Weekly that the company—which mostly develops homes and retail projects throughout California—has an agreement with a hospitality group to operate the hotel.