Resort Hotel to Take Place of Marineland

Times Staff Writer

Arizona developer James G. Monaghan has announced that he plans to build a "world-class" resort hotel and conference center on the Marineland property in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Monaghan, who purchased the roughly 100 acres of prime oceanfront land last week from Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc., said in a prepared statement that he intends to build a complex "with a full range of recreational amenities" that would make use of some buildings already on the site, including a restaurant designed by famed architect William L. Pereira. The restaurant has been closed since 1975.

"We believe the project fills a need for a particular type of resort and conference facility which is currently unmet in Southern California," Monaghan said.

The land is zoned for commercial and recreational purposes, and city officials said Tuesday that such a development would fall in those categories. Harrison Price, a land use consultant hired by Monaghan, said it could take up to three years to complete the project.

Monaghan has not disclosed how much he paid for the aquatic park. Harcourt, a book publisher and theme park operator, purchased the park last December for $23.4 million and closed it in February, saying it did not want to spend $25 million to renovate it. The closing enraged many local residents.

Monaghan has developed commercial and residential projects in Arizona, Texas and Florida. His plans for the luxury facility were announced at a time when a number of hotels are either under construction or planned in the South Bay area.

Price said he does not believe that the other hotels pose a competitive threat to Monaghan's proposed project. "We don't see any facility like this here," he said.

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