With hard hats firmly affixed and shovels in hand, Newport Beach city officials and business leaders Wednesday ceremoniously broke ground on the Lido House Hotel, which will take the place of the former City Hall at the entrance to the Balboa Peninsula.
Lido House, which will be operated by Marriott, will be a four-story boutique hotel with 130 guestrooms, meeting and retail space, a spa, restaurants, a pool and recreation area and a rooftop bar.
The project, approved by the City Council and the California Coastal Commission, has been billed by city officials and nearby residents as a key element in a years-long effort to revitalize the peninsula.
The hotel's owner, R.D. Olson Development, has an 85-year lease with the city for the property at 3300 Newport Blvd.
While the hotel is moving forward, R.D. Olson will be heading back to the council and the Coastal Commission this year seeking approvals to expand parts of the project.
The city Planning Commission has already agreed to allow the developer to expand Lido House Hotel's lobby, management office, spa, and restaurant and retail area. The plan would increase the project's footprint by 4,745 square feet, to 103,470 square feet.
R.D. Olson also received the Planning Commission's permission to enlarge two guestrooms on the second floor into suites and to decrease the size of the ballroom space by 925 square feet.
The developer has said it does not expect the expansion effort to delay the hotel's planned opening in 2017.