A plan to turn the home of former problem-ridden nightclubs to apartments won unanimous approval from the Monterey City Council.
The council voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve conversion of the second- and third floors of the Paseo Del Alvarado Building at Alvarado Street and Del Monte Boulevard to 22 apartments.
The building, which now houses Cibo Ristorante, Taco Bell, a pizza parlor and a crepe shop on the ground floor, has been home to upper-story offices and nightclubs since it was built in the 1970s as part of the city's first urban renewal push.
The last nightclub in the building was the Hippodrome, which was shut down by state alcohol control officials after fights and reports of public drunkenness.
Chip Rerig, planning chief for Monterey, said the apartment conversion was embraced by the council, downtown business groups and the public at Tuesday's hearing.
The combination of retail and residential uses in the building fits with the city general plan encouraging such mixes. It also dovetails with city plans to revitalize downtown by encouraging more people to live in the city center, he said.
During a staff review of the project, Rerig said, a police representative considered the conversion "considerably better than what has been there in the past."
The city says residents will use the downtown parking garage adjacent to the building. Water shouldn't be a problem because the apartments will use less than the former upper-story
Design plans will be submitted next to the city Architectural Review Committee, and then building permits will be required, Rerig said.
Project architect Henry Ruhnke said the owners would like to begin construction as soon as possible, but a roadblock has cropped up over water service to the apartment.
The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District requires separate meters for the apartments, but California American Water is interpreting a cease-and-desist order from the state water board as preventing installation of such meters, he said.
"We are working with Cal Am and the water management district to sort out some kind of solution," he said.
Ruhnke said he was encouraged by council support for plans for outdoor, ground-level seating beside the restaurants as part of the project.
Larry Parsons can be reached at 646-4379 or email@example.com.