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Ventura County

Camarillo Becomes an Inn Place

February 18, 2003|Gregory W. Griggs | Times Staff Writer

A Calabasas developer is seeking to build an upscale, 225-room hotel in Camarillo next year that would be the city's second hotel project after a nearly 12-year drought.

Camarillo Hotel and conference center would be a four-story, 185,000-square-foot structure with two restaurants, pool, spa, fitness center and banquet facility large enough for 425 people. The property is at Las Posas Road and East Ventura Boulevard.

"It's been one of the city's goals to try to support the community with a hotel, particularly one with conference facilities," said Bob Burrow, Camarillo's community development director.

Samson Investment Co. in Calabasas, owner of the 6.5-acre site, has considered building a hotel for several years and submitted an application to the city in November, according to Burrow, who expects the Planning Commission to review the plan this spring.

Tom Kelley, president of the Camarillo Chamber of Commerce, said companies in town that want premium rooms or a large meeting space must now travel to Oxnard or Westlake Village.

"I think there was a pent-up demand," Kelley said. "In terms of the high-tech business community in Camarillo, there's quite a need. And that's in addition to the need that comes from the university, which brings in potential students and parents and the various needs by the faculty and staff for meeting facilities."

In addition to the Camarillo Hotel, construction has begun on a three-story, 115-room Hampton Inn & Suites on Daily Drive, just off the Ventura Freeway at Las Posas Road. The more moderately priced hotel will have 5,700-square-feet of public meeting space, a convenience store, pool and spa, fitness center and business center with computers, faxes and free Internet service.

Alan X. Reay, president of Atlas Hospitality Group, a Costa Mesa-based hotel broker and consulting firm, said the recent increase in hotel construction is not limited to Camarillo.

"Developers are seeing the 101 corridor as being a very hot market," he said. "The Hampton Inn that opened up in Agoura Hills [in November] has been very successful."

Along with the city authorizations, Samson Investment must receive approvals from the county's Department of Airports and the flood control district.

Because the site falls within the traffic zone of Camarillo Airport, the county wants the developer to sign a navigation easement, which prohibits hazardous lighting, structures and electronic interference and gives the county "the right to conduct normal airport operations."

Tom McNamee, deputy director of airports, said such easements are standard requirements for construction near the airports in Oxnard and Camarillo.

The hotel backers also must notify the Federal Aviation Administration, which would review its plans to ensure construction does not disrupt airport operations.

Burrow said the flood control district wants assurances that the hotel project, which borders a flood control channel, would not hamper the flow of water because it would cover a portion of the culvert to provide some parking spaces.

These negotiations, along with city suggestions that Samson Investment enhance the exterior design of the hotel, are normal at this stage of the development process, Burrow said. "All these things, we're going to work them out," he said.

Samson Investment officials did not return phone calls seeking comment on the project.

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