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Hotel gets closer to approval

Paul Clinton

TRANSPORTATION DISTRICT -- A hotel proposal for the former Bombay

Bicycle Club site cleared a major hurdle Monday when the Planning Board

approved the developer’s revised plans.

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Karl Sternbaum, president of Los Angeles-based Accord Interests LLC,

agreed to several changes in the 12-story, 253-room hotel project shortly

the board voted 4-1 to let him proceed with the project. Carolyn Berlin

opposed the development.

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“We’re very pleased,” Sternbaum said Tuesday. “We’re looking forward

to going before the (City) Council.”

Sternbaum said he hoped to present his development to the council in

late January.

At the start of the hearing, Board members complained that Sternbaum’s

proposal included several requests for variations from the city’s

municipal code -- including just a one-foot buffer between the hotel and

the sidewalk and minimal landscaping.

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“I resent the fact that you’re asking the Planning Board to approve a

non-code compliant project,” member Henry “Bud” Hunt said. “We have a

code to maintain the quality of living in our city.”

In response, Sternbaum agreed to widen the buffer, add more trees and

redesign the hotel’s arched entrance to make it more pedestrian friendly.

While Hunt was won over by the changes, Berlin was not.

“I feel the project needs to be more community friendly. It’s a big

box,” Berlin said.

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With the Planning Board’s recommendation, the approximately $34

million project now goes before the City Council. If it is approved,

Sternbaum’s enhanced extended-stay hotel will fill a vacancy left when

the Bombay Bicycle Club restaurant closed its doors in mid-1998,

declaring bankruptcy after an 11-year run.

In September, the council rejected Sternbaum’s 200-room proposal

because it didn’t meet the requirements of his development deed with the

city, which calls for any hotel on the site to have a minimum of 250

rooms.

Sternbaum said he has a contract with Associated Hosts Development

Company to buy the 1.73-acre site for about $4 million. The city’s

Redevelopment Agency sold the property to Associated Hosts in 1983 for

$500,000. Sternbaum said he is negotiating with Marriott to build a a

Residence Inn on the property, which is at 321 S. First St., adjacent to

the Golden State (5) Freeway.


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