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467-Room Ramada Going Up Across From Disneyland

September 30, 1987|GREG JOHNSON | Times Staff Writer

A $28-million, 467-room Ramada--the first major hotel to rise near Disneyland and the Anaheim Convention Center since 1984--is being built on one of the last vacant tracts in the heavily developed tourist mecca.

Construction began in late August at the 4.3-acre tract, located across Harbor Boulevard from Disneyland. The hotel and a one-story restaurant will be geared toward family vacationers.

The hotel and restaurant are being developed by a partnership that includes Seaport Manfred, a San Diego-based hotel developer and operator, and JDC (America) Corp., a Miami-based subsidiary of a large Japanese real estate development firm.

The Santa Ana office of California First Bank is providing construction financing. Permanent financing is being negotiated, according to a Seaport Manfred spokesman.

15,000 Rooms in Area

The Ramada will be the first large hotel to be completed near Disneyland and the convention center since Hilton opened a 1,600-room hotel and Emerald opened a 500-room hotel in mid-1984, according to industry analysts.

"There's still some room, but it's sure getting tight," said Bill Snyder, President of the Anaheim Visitor and Convention Bureau. "When I got here in 1968, there were 2,500 rooms and the Disneyland Hotel had 400 rooms."

The Ramada would boost Anaheim's hotel room total to about 15,000. More than 12,000 of those are within a mile of Disneyland or the convention center, Snyder said.

The city's room count rose by about 4,000 during 1984, he said. Several smaller hotels have been added in the last three years.

Average annual occupancy rates at Anaheim hotels have hovered from 71% to 74%, according to Snyder. "Even in 1984 when all those rooms were added, occupancy rates stayed level," Snyder said.

The Ramada hotel, which is scheduled to open next July, will sit on a tract that Disney had held as "surplus" land until selling it in 1984, according to a Seaport Manfred spokesman. JDC and Seaport Manfred bought the land for an undisclosed sum earlier this year from Brea-based D&D Development.

Best Remaining Site

The land is between a McDonald's restaurant and an Acapulco restaurant just south of the Santa Ana Freeway overpass. Seaport Manfred President Roger Manfred described the tract as "the best remaining undeveloped site in the Disneyland area."

There are just a handful of undeveloped sites near Disneyland or the convention center that are zoned for hotels, according to hotel industry analysts.

Consequently, the Ramada site--about a quarter-mile north of Disneyland's main entrance--makes it "a good piece of land," according to Mark Wetherall, a Costa Mesa-based associate with the accounting firm of Laventhol & Horwath.

The Ramada isn't the first hotel proposed for the 4.3-acre tract. In 1984, when Disney still owned the land, a developer wanted to build a Red Lion hotel. That project never materialized, however, and the land evidently changed hands at least once before the JDC and Seaport Manfred Partnership acquired it, the Seaport Manfred spokesman said.

JDC's U.S. projects include the World Trade Center in Miami and a Princess Resort being built in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Manfred, a San Diego resident, formed Seaport Manfred two years ago after resigning as chairman and chief executive of Travelodge International Inc., the El Cajon-based subsidiary of Trusthouse Forte PLC, which operates the Travelodge hotel chain.

Seaport Manfred is also developing a $120-million hotel, residential and office complex near the site of the San Diego Convention Center. The complex is expected to open in 1989.

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