In the near future, the Anaheim City Council will vote on the application of Good Hope International to build a 580-room, eight-story luxury hotel where the venerable Anaheim Plaza Hotel now stands. The project will be built under the Hotel Incentive Policy approved last year by the city council as a strategy to incentivize more four- and five-diamond hotels in the Resort District. It had been scheduled for a council vote tomorrow, but has been withdrawn from the agenda at the request of the applicant.
Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Lucille Kring and Mayor Tom Tait authored dueling op-eds on the topic in yesterday’s OC Register, We published them both here in part – readers can click the links back to the OCR to read both columns in their entirety — along with some observations.
When Hotels Come, Anaheim Residents Benefit
Anaheim’s hotel program is working.
In the next few years, Anaheim will welcome Orange County’s first JW Marriott, followed by what could be two more luxury hotels nearDisneyland Resort and the Anaheim Convention Center.
The hotels stem from a 2015 policy to attract luxury hotels, which are noticeably scarce in a major visitor city such as Anaheim.
These new hotels will expand choices for visitors and be a source of pride for Anaheim. But that’s not why we are doing it.
We know many of our residents may never stay at these hotels. We are doing this because hotels have a profound impact on their daily lives.
Revenue from hotels makes up the largest part of our general fund, Anaheim’s main funding source for public safety and community services.
As other cities struggle to fund basic needs, a thriving visitor industry affords Anaheim the ability to deliver a full range of services to Orange County’s most populous city.
In Anaheim, hotel revenue directly funds:
• 155 police officers. Midway through an initiative to hire 40 officers in four years, hotel revenue is helping Anaheim restore police staffing to pre-recession levels.
Read the rest of Mayor Pro Tem Kring’s column here.
And the Mayor’s view:
Here We Go Again: Another Anaheim Tax Giveaway
In the coming weeks, the Anaheim city council is expected to vote on yet another tax subsidy of $144 million for a so-called “luxury” hotel right across the street from the entrance to Disneyland, and then another hotel subsidy later in the summer. I will be voting against these subsidies because I believe they are unnecessary, they put the city on a dangerous path financially and they are a reckless giveaway of taxpayer dollars.
Back in 2013, when the Anaheim city council majority voted to give $158 million to a politically-connected hotel developer at the Gardenwalk properties (I voted against this action), we were told we needed to help shield the developer from the effects of the economic recession, and that if we didn’t subsidize this hotel “it would not be built.” In the 3 years since then, we have approved and celebrated the opening of 17 hotels in Anaheim, all without any subsidies. Our hotels serve the millions of tourists who come to our resort area each year, with beautiful amenities, spas, dining and entertainment.
By all accounts, the hotel market is thriving. Hotel experts suggest it’s the strongest hotel market in 25 years: Record revenues and record profits, combined with today’s low interest rates and a booming tourism industry create ideal conditions for investors.
So why does the city see fit to give a handout to a luxury hotel developer, to the tune of $144 million? We certainly can’t argue that nothing will be built without a subsidy, as the last three years have shown. You will hear that Anaheim needs and even “deserves” a luxury hotel. I would argue that, in these market conditions, if it makes sense to build a luxury hotel, then someone will build it with their own money.
Click here to read the rest of Mayor Tait’s column.