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TORRANCE : Hotel Developer Hasn't Paid Property Taxes

March 24, 1994|GREG MILLER

The Sheraton Cerritos hotel, which was built by a Torrance developer, has raised eyebrows at Cerritos City Hall because it continues to lose money and the developer has not paid property taxes, even though its occupancy rate last year reportedly approached 80%, well above the regional average.

The 203-room hotel, which opened in April, 1990, was conceived as a cornerstone of the upscale Towne Center redevelopment project at 183rd Street and Bloomfield Avenue. The hotel was considered so crucial to the office-commercial development that the city agreed to chip in $750,000 a year until the hotel turned a profit.

Cerritos officials say they are concerned that the $25-million hotel continues to lose money. Officials also say they're perplexed by the failure of the hotel developer, Transpacific Development Co., to pay $900,000 in property taxes on the site for the past four years.

The delinquent taxes have prompted city officials to withhold $1.5 million in subsidy payments to the hotel the past two years.

Thomas Irish, chief operating officer of Transpacific, acknowledged that the hotel has enjoyed a higher occupancy rate than most of its competitors, but said the hotel's overall performance "has not been such that it's allowed us to make our property tax payments." He declined to elaborate.

Sheraton officials hired a new general manager, Hans Altenhoff, last month.

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