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City Panel Narrows Hotel Site Options to 2

November 28, 1985|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | Times Staff Writer

City officials have narrowed the proposed sites for a major hotel in Glendale to two, both near the Ventura Freeway in the downtown redevelopment area.

The Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday authorized its staff to focus planning for the hotel on the two sites, on Central Avenue immediately north and south of the freeway. They were selected from seven potential sites.

Susan Shick, deputy redevelopment director, said that the two sites could be readied for construction rapidly and easily, and that a new hotel might be completed as early as 1988.

'Best Opportunity'

The agency expects to share the cost of acquiring a site with a developer because land next to the freeway is priced for high-rise office construction--more than a hotel can support, Shick said.

The "best opportunity" for a hotel, Shick said, is next to the Allstate Plaza and between Arden Avenue and Burchett Street, a block north of the freeway. She said Allstate "has expressed interest" in working with the redevelopment agency and developers in securing a hotel.

The second site under consideration is next to the Security Pacific Bank complex and immediately south of the freeway at Doran Street. That location was recommended as the best of the seven sites by consultants Laventhol & Horwath of Los Angeles, specialists in hotel and office development who were commissioned by the agency earlier this year to select hotel sites.

$50,000 Allocation

In narrowing its selection, the redevelopment agency on Tuesday also allocated $50,000 for planning and administration of the first stages of hotel development. Shick said the money will be used to appraise the cost of purchasing a hotel site and determining the meeting and banquet space required.

The agency specified that it wants a 300-room, full-service commercial hotel affiliated with a major chain. Amenities would include restaurants, a cocktail lounge with entertainment, meeting and banquet rooms, swimming pool, health club, retail shops and travel-related services.

City officials have worked more than six years to entice a major hotel downtown. The city had earlier negotiated with a joint-venture partnership for development of a 250- to 350-room hotel to be built south of the Galleria II shopping mall. That proposal collapsed in 1984 after the Mariner Corp. of Texas withdrew from negotiations, blaming poor economic conditions.

'Significant Interest'

Shick said last summer's hotel market study by Laventhol & Horwath "has generated significant interest by both operators and developers" in building a hotel in Glendale. She proposed that the city focus on just two sites to facilitate negotiations with developers.

She said the recommended sites are next to major parking garages for office workers, which generally are empty at night and could be used for hotel parking. She said a major hotel on the sites would range from eight to 12 stories and would be easily seen from the freeway.

Construction Could Proceed

Shick also said the sites are in an area of the downtown "that is physically attractive, the strongest part of the downtown" and that construction "could proceed expeditiously."

Two other sites near the freeway between Central Avenue and Brand Boulevard were ruled out by the staff because high-rise office development is already planned there and they would be difficult and expensive for the city to acquire. The other three sites near the Galleria shopping mall were moved to the bottom of the priority list because of their distance from the freeway, Shick said.

Most business travelers seeking first-class accommodations now stay at hotels in Pasadena, Universal City or downtown Los Angeles, the hotel study found. The 610-room Glendale Holiday Inn is only a few blocks from the proposed hotel sites, but it lacks suitable convention facilities and other amenities required by many business travelers, Shick said.

Day Opposed Action

Councilman John F. Day cast the only vote against the action, saying other sites may be more suitable for hotel development. Both sites selected by the city are now occupied by restaurants--Conrad's north of the freeway and Reflections south of the freeway. In the past, Day has opposed forcing out restaurants for redevelopment.

In authorizing further planning, agency members ordered the staff to survey more than 400 organizations to determine the type and size of meeting and banquet rooms needed in the community. Shick indicated that the agency may be willing to help pay part of the cost of providing more meeting space than usually offered by hotels.

City officials also have refused offers by some developers to build a hotel with fewer amenities.

"There is a vast difference in hotels in size and amenities. Furniture, fixtures and amenities are very important. We don't want the low end of the scale," Day said.

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