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$20-Million Holiday Inn : Developer Plans First Big Huntington Beach Hotel

October 25, 1985|BRUCE HOROVITZ | Times Staff Writer

Huntington Beach--a city without a single, major hotel--is about to see its first.

A developer who is building both a $3-billion aerospace park and a $140-million space exploration center in Colorado Springs has now set his sights on Orange County--specifically, Huntington Beach.

Martin List, whose name is a household word in parts of Colorado but virtually unknown in his 18-year home of Newport Beach, said Thursday that he plans to build a $20-million Holiday Inn in Huntington Beach as his company's first step toward future development there.

List, who left his Newport Beach medical practice several years ago to begin developing land in Colorado, said his investment group also plans to acquire an Orange County bank--the name of which has yet to be announced--within the next few weeks, and is looking at other commercial property in the county.

The 224-room hotel, which is scheduled to open late next year, will represent the largest hotel in Huntington Beach. It will be built at the intersection of Beach Boulevard and the San Diego Freeway, an area which has recently surfaced as a hub of new commercial growth. Last month, another developer announced plans to build a $25-million, 65-store shopping center just one block from that location.

"Right now, there is lots of money to be made at that location," said List, general partner of List Investments Ltd. of Colorado Springs and chairman of U.S. Financial Inc., a Newport Beach mortgage company.

In a telephone interview Thursday, List said the Huntington Beach location was selected after numerous feasibility studies.

Despite the onslaught of hotel growth in Orange County, he said the planned eight-story hotel will fill a necessary void. "There are 1,500 acres of industrial facilities in Huntington Beach, but no major hotels there to accommodate executives."

Until now, most major hotel developers have avoided Huntington Beach locations because the city's business community is primarily made up of light industrial operations as opposed to the wealthy, high-tech companies in Irvine and Newport Beach, said Diana Blaisure, a Huntington Beach city planner.

Limited Tourist Trade

She also said that, unlike Newport Beach, overnight tourist trade is very limited in Huntington Beach. "There's no harbor or quaint village for the tourists," she said.

Of course, all of that soon will be changing with the city's planned redevelopment program. Huntington Beach's second major hotel, a proposed $60-million structure, is scheduled to break ground in December, 1986. The first segment of the 600-room, 12-story structure is slated for completion in about two years, said its developer, Richard Schwartz, partner in Pacific Heritage Land & Holding Co. of Huntington Beach.

But even Schwartz seems skeptical about how two major hotels will fare in a city that now has none. "We hope to do well. It will be pretty embarrassing if we don't," he said.

The proposed hotel near the city's famous pier will only be one part of a major redevelopment that will include a collection of new shops, restaurants and tourist attractions in the city's old downtown area.

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