Why did the Civic Center area residents lose their fight to stop the Olson/Ayres development? Long-time city residents like me who don't live in the area thought it was a great idea, and I agreed with Councilman Larry Crandall's assessment that it had been thoroughly vetted and passed by the locals for their consideration and input. Further, the Planning Commission had approved it.
Olson's plan (which was apparently reduced in size as a compromise to neighborhood concerns) seemed very reasonable and saleable, despite the empty-headed objections of the real estate "queen" (how pathetic they are when it's not their listing). Ayres has a terrific local reputation for being a great hotelier and good neighbor -- and what better place for an attractive, business-oriented hotel than at a major freeway exchange? And to their credit, unlike the fools on the Anaheim City Council, ours did not need to offer any incentives to attract Ayres to the city, even considering that their competition is running a unit across the street.
The issues with traffic were adequately defended by an experienced analyst who said it would not be even half as heavy as it had been during the SAFECO days. The arguments for the project could have been even stronger if an estimate had been offered the audience as to the property and bed tax revenue which it will generate for the city and county (we'll assume that's in the staff report).
After the 22 speakers that , it was clear that these neighborhood veterans did not want a project that would benefit the city as a whole. This isn't to suggest they need to take one for the team, but many of the comments were nonfactual, illogical and unimpressive to an experienced City Council and planners. More importantly, had even ONE of the speakers offered a different idea, another alternative, just anything that the Council might have seen as a productive use of an asset that's sat empty and detiorating for eight years, perhaps these folks might have had a chance. But there were none, and we should be thankful that Olson and Ayres stepped forward with a good proposal and, more importantly, are willing to take the risk of developing property in a sour and shaky market.
Let's move forward and allow these companies make a success of this. It's good for the City, and all of us.