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Wade Daniels Staff Reporter The late-August announcement that a Wyndham Hotel with as many as 350 “full-service, business-class” rooms will be built in Glendale is just the first of a spate new hotel projects slated for the Glendale-Burbank-Pasadena area. “There are about eight hotel projects in various stages of planning for that market,” said Bruce Baltin, a consultant for PKF Consulting, a hospitality-industry consulting firm. “That is about the most activity for any part of the county.” The last hotel built in Glendale was the 358-room Red Lion Hotel, which was constructed in 1992 and is currently the only upscale hotel in the city that caters to a professional clientele. Meanwhile, the demand for hotel rooms continues to grow as more businesses look to Glendale for office space. The demand is reflected in the vacancy rates, which dropped from 17 percent in 1992 to 7 percent most recently, according to Grub & Ellis Co. DreamWorks SKG, for example, chose Glendale as home to the company’s animation studio. “The need for business-class hotel space now outstrips what is there,” said Bill Boyd, senior vice president at the Los Angeles office of Grubb & Ellis, who said he knows of two hotel companies currently negotiating for land in Glendale to build hotels to serve the business market. Boyd said the Red Lion Hotel is at or near capacity most of the time. By business class, Boyd was referring to hotels that have an array of different sizes of meeting rooms, and which have upscale restaurants and relatively luxurious rooms. Michael D. Hirsch, general manager of the Glendale Red Lion Hotel, declined to supply occupancy figures for the facility. He would say only that occupancy has been higher this year compared to the past few years when the economy wasn’t as strong. The Wyndham Hotel will be designed to attract business travelers, said Dave Mudgett, executive vice president of Donahue Schriber, a Newport Beach-based company that is developing the hotel as part of a $190 million theater, restaurant and retail project on 15 acres at Colorado Street and Brand Boulevard called Glendale Town Center. Donahue Schriber, which also developed, operates and is part owner of the Glendale Galleria, announced Aug. 25 it had chosen Dallas-based Patriot American Hospitality Inc., in partnership with the New York-based Hospitality Worldwide Services, to build and operate the hotel. Mudgett said that a 1997 study the company commissioned showed that the Glendale business community will now support a 250- to 300-room hotel. However, the new Wyndham hotel will have as many as 350 rooms, because the company is relying on further growth in the area’s business community and an attendant need for business-traveler accommodations. “More office buildings will be built, and there will be larger hotel needs,” Mudgett said. In fact, a 171,000-square-foot office building on the 400 block of North Brand Boulevard is slated for completion this December, and an additional 525,000-square-foot office building is scheduled for completion next spring. Mudgett said in addition to business clientele, the hotel is designed to attract tourists who visit Pasadena, where the Old Town shopping area has become a popular attraction in recent years. “We consider Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena to be one market, and there has been no hotel construction in many years,” Mudgett said. Baltin said he could not name the other hotel companies which are developing plans for new properties or discuss what kind of projects are being planned, due to confidentiality agreements with his clients. He did say that, while revenues for the Valley area’s overall hotel market have not been as strong this summer as some had expected, that has not hindered interest in the development of more hotels. “It’s been somewhat of a soft summer, but these companies look at things long range,” Baltin said. In the first six months of the year, Pasadena and Glendale had an average occupancy rate of 77.34 percent, which was down by 1.5 percent from the same period last year, according to PKF Consulting. There was stronger growth in terms of the area’s nightly room rates for the first half of the year, rising by 11 percent over last year to $106.21. Baltin said that the relative weakness in the market was largely due to Asia’s economic problems and because of the El Nino-driven rains earlier this year, which may have caused some people to steer their travel plans away from the Los Angeles area. Still, an occupancy rate of more than 74 percent essentially means a hotel is near capacity, Baltin said.

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