Civic report: La Jolla Village Merchants Association, Nov. 14
by Dave Schwab
Published - 11/21/12 - 02:09 PM | 4121 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With expectations running high, build-out for the new La Jolla Information Center is under way to open the facility to the public Jan. 1 with a grand opening in spring.

The latest timeline on the former visitors center, previously housed in a kiosk at 7966 Herschel Ave., was given at La Jolla Village Merchants Association’s (LJVMA) Nov. 14 meeting.

“The plan is to get some technology donated and make it an Internet-café feel with touch screens and wireless computers, which you can use to purchase tickets to entertainment-type facilities,” said LJVMA executive director Sheila Fortune after the meeting.

The San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau (ConVis) is partnering with LJVMA to operate the new information center at 1162 Prospect St.

“It will be good for La Jolla and good for the visitor industry,” said Eric Lund of ConVis. “It will be a substantial upgrade. It’s a larger facility.”

Lund said it made good sense to collaborate with LJVMA to open the new center to ensure that “visitors have a better experience.”

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” he said.

The new facility’s name is being changed along with its location.

“We are calling it the information center now because we want it to be for everyone,” said Fortune. “We want it to be for community residents, but we also want people to think of it as a center of business in La Jolla. And, of course, we want it to be for those who are visiting.”

Plans are to make the new center a one-stop shop to learn about everything La Jolla. Fortune said the facility is being divided up into thirds, with one portion dedicated to an information center, one for a conference room for small-group meetings seating 20 or 25 and the remaining portion devoted to staff offices.

At the Nov. 14 LJVMA meeting, group president Phil Coller discussed the economics of the new information center.

“The space is about $100,000 more than we were paying,” he said, adding a goal in acquiring it was to ensure that paying for it “doesn’t impinge on the functioning of the organization.”

Coller said ConVis is helping LJVMA secure a city grant to cover $45,000 to $50,000 of the extra cost of renting the new facility.

The remainder of the added cost, Coller said, is expected to come from advertising revenues.

“We expect to expand [advertising] quite dramatically in the new space so we’ll have that covered,” he said. “We have more than eight times the promotion space in the new facility, and we’re going to use that to sell advertising and make more revenue.”

Fortune said she will be managing three part-time staff and about 20 volunteers at the new facility when it opens.

In other action:

 • Fortune said planning is in full gear to host the annual Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Golf Course at the end of January. Noting this is the first time La Jolla merchants have joined the tournament as a full partner, Fortune said the business community will host a Haute La Jolla Nights event to include food, live entertainment and shopping discounts starting on Thursday and going through Saturday the weekend of the tournament.

“We’re going to have specials throughout the week for people who have PGA tournament credentials,” she said. “We’re going to try and get as many of the 140,000 people coming to the tournament into the Village. If we could get 10 percent of them, that would be really nice.”

 • Coller said there is $400,000-plus in the group’s fund, which has been building up over the past 25 years, earmarked for coastal access and parking improvements in La Jolla.

“That money has to be spent in a very specific way,” he said, noting $60,000 has been set aside to provide parking for about 120 Village business employees.

LJVMA’s next meeting will be Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 8:30 a.m. at the Cuvier Club, 7776 Eads Ave.

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