Planners approve Pacific City hotel plans

A developer is ready to go ahead with construction of its hotel on a portion of the long-awaited Pacific City project on Pacific Coast Highway.

The Huntington Beach Planning Commission voted 5 to 1 on Tuesday, with Commissioner Bob Dingwall dissenting and Commissioner Mark Bixby abstaining, to approve minor adjustments to the plans for the eight-story hotel, including adding tandem valet spaces in its underground parking garage and adjusting the aesthetics of the building to include a wave design.

With the go-ahead from the commission, Irvine-based developer R.D. Olson can apply for its building permits, so long as the project is not appealed to the California Coast Commission in the next 10 days.

"We would like to get started as soon as we can," said Robert Olson, founder and president of the development firm. "We're ready to go. We closed on the land in December and our loan is in place."

Hotel plans call for 250 rooms, banquet and meeting space rooms, a spa and a restaurant, according to a city staff report.

Olson said the 4-acre development will be an "unbranded life style hotel," where about half of the rooms will have two queen beds.

"That's really for the family mix on the weekends," he said. "The rest of our business is the meetings people during the week."

The stagnant 31-acre dirt lot between First and Huntington streets along Pacific Coast Highway has seen a considerable amount of activity over the past several months. Developer DJM Development Partners, which built and owns the Bella Terra mall in Huntington Beach, has been working to get its 6.5-acre outdoor shopping center built by 2015.

In other Pacific City news, developer Crescent Heights recently sold its share of the project to Colorado-based company UDR, which is one the largest apartment owners in the United States, according to the Orange County Business Journal.

UDR becomes the sixth developer to be involved with the multiuse development. The company will be responsible for building 516 apartment units on 20 acres just north of the shopping center and hotel.

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