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Hillcrest's Sommerset Hotel to close, become apartments or condos

The iconic neighborhood hotel will become condos or apartments says community activist Eddie Reynoso.
Photo credit:
Sommerset Hotel and Suites

The Sommerset Suites Hotel which has been a part of the Hillcrest landscape for over 30 years, will be decommissioned as a hotel on January 4.

This news comes from community activist and CEO & Founder of the  San Diego LGBT Visitors Center Eddie Reynoso.

Reynoso in a Facebook post said the Sommerset sought helpful responses from him about the renovations.

“I was asked by management for feedback on the new room remodels a few months back,” he said in a Facebook post. “At the time the plan was to convert the rooms to a attract a more upscale clientele and market to the LGBT community.”

He says he returned a week ago to see the re-design and has been staying at the hotel. He said he tried to make room reservations for Mardi Gras, but the front desk told him, "they weren't taking reservations after the 4th because it was closing."

He was able to confirm this with the hotel's General Manager. 

 Reynoso says the hotel was “often booked to capacity” and will eventually be converted into condos or apartments.

“While I always welcome new housing, the loss of our flagship hotel is a tough blow," He wrote. “It's proximity to the neighborhood and hospitals, as well as it's affordable prices have made this hotel a popular destination for thousands of visitors that I've interacted with at the LGBT Visitors Center.”

As the owner of the award-winning San Diego LGBT Visitors Center, Reynoso says he often referred clients to the hotel and its closing may have an impact on the local economy and may affect the neighborhood.

“Now, more than ever - we must continue advocating for the Gateway Project, and hope that the Pernicano's revitalization project also includes a hotel.”

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News reached out to Reynoso for a comment, and while he says the impact to the neighborhood might not be seen for a while,  there is a silver lining.

“This could translate to added affordable housing inventory.”

His other concern is for tourists who seek to stay in Hillcrest for big events such as Pride. He feels that those guests will now stay in neighboring districts which will severely impact Hillcrest’s commerce.

“Hillcrest already has an un-met need for hotel rooms. In our first year we directly booked over 275 hotel room nights.” He adds, “We will now be sending those guests to other neighborhoods where they will surely wander to nearby eateries, shopping and attractions.”

The Sommerset Hotel is owned by Pacifica Hotels, a property management company based in Irvine. They currently operate 30 boutique hotels throughout the Pacific Coast.

SDGLN reached out to Sommerset’s representative Jennifer Cruz through a phone call, but she was not able to comment on the decommissioning at this time, "I'm not familiar with all the processes and I'm not in the meetings," said Cruz. 

SDGLN will update you on this story as more information becomes available.

The Sommerset Hotel and Suites is located at 606 Washington Street, San Diego, CA 92103.