Hotel, homes planned for vacant Fountain Valley lot

Plans are in the works to bring a hotel and residential units to Fountain Valley near the 405 Freeway in place of a vacant insurance company.

An Ayres hotel and 88 residential units are expected to replace the Safeco Insurance building at 17570 Brookhurst St., where the building has been vacant for at least seven years, said Fountain Valley Planning and Building Director Andy Perea.

"We do definitely want to see vacant properties occupied," he said. "It would bring property tax and transient occupancy tax to the city."

The Olson Company, which brought the proposal forward, plans to build the project on 8.3 acres; the 127-room Ayres hotel will take two acres, and the 61 town homes and 21 single-family homes will take up the rest, Perea said.

Councilman Larry Crandall said the project will revitalize the area and hopefully be the beginning of attracting more businesses to it.

"I'm pushing for and hoping for some light retail, like Starbucks or a steakhouse restaurant, to give us a downtown feeling to rework that whole area," he said.

Crandall said at least once a week, he gets asked by members from the community about the vacant building.

"The community will be pleased with what goes in there, and whatever revenue generated from the hotel will help the city, so I'm very encouraged by what I've seen so far," he said.

The city is currently in the process of reviewing the project, and an environmental impact report is expected by late fall, Perea said. The planner held neighborhood meetings that were concluded at the end of last year.

If the reviewing process goes according to schedule, the project would go before the Planning Commission, then the City Council by the end of the year.

Demolition of the insurance building would begin early next year, said Fountain Valley Planner Steven Ayers.

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