Long Beach : Hotel Plan OKd Despite Protests of School District

Despite objections from the school district, the Redevelopment Agency has approved an environmental report that says a new downtown high-rise hotel will not significantly add to the student population here.

School district officials contend that people would move into the area to work at the new hotel, which is expected to have 470 rooms.

Tom Welch, project manager for Perini Land and Construction Co., had no estimate on the number of people who will be employed at the hotel, which is proposed for the site of the Jergins Trust Building on Ocean Boulevard. The nearby Hyatt Regency, which has 61 more rooms than the proposed hotel and more meeting space, employs about 480 people, a Hyatt spokesman said.

City Atty. Barry Ross said he expected that the school board will file a lawsuit against the city concerning the project, which is to go to the Planning Commission for approval July 18.

Richard Van Der Laan, a spokesman for the Long Beach Unified School District, said the school board will "probably follow channels to keep all our legal options open." However, Van Der Laan said the district would prefer to negotiate a solution out of court.

In May, the school district filed suit to halt a 96.5-acre commercial and residential development in Long Beach and Signal Hill on the grounds it will bring about school crowding.

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