When it was decided to change a La Jolla, CA, apartment complex into upscale condominiums, material selection was a key component of the makeover. And in the end, the new Lucera at UTC features natural stone in all of the facility's units, making the project a rousing success.

The complex, which is within easy commuting distance of San Diego, is owned by The Pacifica Cos., which was ranked one of the top 100 U.S. Hotel Management Organizations in terms of gross revenue by Hotel Business magazine. The Pacifica Companies hired Blackbird Interiors to execute the new design for the residential spaces. Blackbird upgraded plain white ceramic tile countertops with natural granite, and the kitchen spaces feature a broad range of stone sizes, depending on the application. All of the stone for the renovation was supplied by Color Marble Project Group (CMPG) of Diamond Bar in Southern California.

For 198 units with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, the signature material is Tropical Brown granite from Saudi Arabia. This stone was not only used for the kitchen counters around the sink and stove, but also for the backsplashes and custom-cut shelving throughout the space.

In the 58 units featuring one bedroom and one bathroom, the design uses Giallo Ornamental granite from Brazil. Once again, the stone was used for kitchen counters, backsplashes and shelving, and it was also used for the bathroom vanities.

According to Antonius Teang of Color Marble Project Group (CMPG), the use of these two granites offered a cost savings for the owners. “All the stones were available in our China Office and factory, and they were upscale stone colors with high quality and a competitive price. Having our own fabrication facility in Shanghai, China, allows us to complete projects on time as well.

“For the past 10 years, Color Marble Co. has been fabricating cut-to-size materials for large building projects in China, countertops for the hospitality industry in both China and the U.S., and full kitchens for tract home projects in the U.S.,” Teang continued, adding that some major completed and ongoing projects include Ritz Carlton Hotels in Miami, FL, and Laguna Niguel, FL, the MGM Grand, Luxor and Monte Carlo Casinos in Las Vegas, NV, and the Marriott in Palm Deserts, CA.

The stone was installed by CM Stone Services, a subsidiary of Color Marble Inc. specialized in installations. With the stone in place, it is expected sales of the upgraded units will move vigorously. Teang also added that the success of the project has led to further collaboration between the stone supplier and owners. “Our timely completion and quality control for the project was recognized by the owner, and we have received repeated work orders from The Pacifica Cos. and its subsidiary company, The Pacifica Host Co.,” he said.