Gardena officials are hoping that a $56-million office and hotel complex next to the Eldorado Card Club will provide the city with more than just $500,000 annually in increased tax revenue.
They expect it to help Gardena--which for many years has sat in the shadow of Torrance, its richer, more developed neighbor--form its own identity. And officials say the Eldorado Center will spur further commercial development and erase any lingering memories of Gardena as a small farm town.
"This ground breaking signifies the culmination of 10 years of planning, hoping and meeting with local officials to match their needs and our dreams of a business and entertainment complex in Gardena," said George M. Anthony, a partner in the project and the owner of the Eldorado Card Club, at ground-breaking ceremonies this week.
"We bring those dreams to fruition and start the process of revitalizing this area and providing for the needs of both local residents and visitors alike," Anthony said.
"We couldn't imagine anything like this being built here 40 years ago, when we were just a small farm town," said Gardena Mayor Donald Dear.
"We hope other developers will come into the city now," City Manager Kenneth Landau said. "We're looking for orderly development."
When it is completed in January, 1989, the Eldorado Center will provide the city with its first major hotel with meeting rooms and a grand ballroom. At present, major civic functions are held in neighboring cities.
The ballroom in the 18-story, 286-room hotel, at Redondo Beach Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, will seat 1,200. The hotel will be managed by Sunroute Hotel System, a Japanese company, and will include a health club, swimming pool, three restaurants, retail shopping areas, a nightclub and an underground parking lot for 1,200 vehicles.
The city sold about $11.5 million in tax-exempt municipal bonds for the parking garage. The developer will repay the bond debt.
The Eldorado Card Club will remain in its present location and will be at the rear of the new complex, which will include a 10-story office tower with 203,000 square feet of space.
Jack Rosenberg, vice president and district manager of the South Bay office of Grubb & Ellis Commercial Brokerage Services, which is marketing the project, said the Eldorado Center will be the first of its kind in the inland coastal region.
"The fact that this project includes an office tower and retail areas makes a statement to both local and foreign companies that the city is serious about attracting new and expanding companies."
Despite an estimated 20% office vacancy rate in the South Bay, a broker said the complex should have no trouble leasing space.
"It's in a good location and has the proper amenities surrounding it," said Peter A. Toughill, a senior marketing consultant for Grubb & Ellis in Torrance.