Rio Sands Motel getting a Mediterranean makeover: $1.5 million project due for completion at end of May
By JONDI GUMZ – Santa Cruz Sentinel
POSTED: 02/07/2011 07:35:10 PM PST | UPDATED: 5 YEARS AGO
“I’m creating a landmark,” said owner Lou Bartfield, who has studied Greek and Roman history and considers Mediterranean the “most beautiful and most symmetrical architecture. … it’s very feminine because of the arches and the curves.”
He added, “I felt I needed some beauty in my life,” And he said “I’m not planning to raise rates.”
The remodel of the 50-room motel at 116 Aptos Beach Drive was something he contemplated four to five years ago.
“There was so much exuberance and insanity in the economy, I couldn’t find a contractor,” he said. “This turned out to be the right time.”
Bartfield came to Santa Cruz County in 1974 to get away from Los Angeles. He bought the Capitola Venetian in 1976 and repainted and restored the beach-front hotel. He also owns three motels in the scenic fishing village of Morro Bay.
For the Rio del Mar project, he is tapping into funds from Santa Cruz County Bank along with his own resources.
“I’m optimistic about the economy, he said, declining to give his age but noting he is a veteran of World War II.
When no-documentation loans were easy to get at the local savings and loan, “I felt we were in an unsustainable boom,” he said.
In addition to the facade changes at the Rio Sands, there will be a new mansard roof, a larger entrance foyer, enclosures for the existing stairways, new landscaping and lighting.
During construction, the motel will stay open though half the rooms will not be available. Bartfield is hoping to finish by the end of May in time for the summer season.
The project has been designed by Aptos architect Robert Goldspink, whose specialty is Mediterranean style.
The contractor is Ausonio, a Castroville builder with an office in Santa Cruz, which won an award last year for its work on the Nordic Naturals headquarters in Watsonville.
Bartfield said he selected Ausonio in large part due to project manager Jim Staniec, who approached him after hearing the remodel was on.
“He was so persistent and so smart,” said Bartfield. “He helped us improve the project a great deal.”
Steve Allen of Allen Property Group is assisting his father-in-law on the remodel.
“Wherever possible, subcontractors from Santa Cruz County have been hired, including Coast Concrete based in Satna Cruz and Timberworks of Scotts Valley,” said Allen.
He noted other projects to rejuvenate the Rio del Mar Esplanade: Replanting of palm trees by the Rio del Mar Improvement Association, county road improvements and a new owner rehabbing the building that used to house Cafe Rio restaurant.
The county approval of the remodel was appealed to the California Coastal Commission by Dennis Beach but agency staff found no substantial issue. The commission heard the appeal in Los Angeles in November then approved the project unanimously.
Article Source: http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_17321702