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Thursday, Feb 29, 2024

Marriott Hotel to Rise in Downtown Lancaster

There’s something about Lancaster that keeps developer Scott Ehrlich coming back to build more. The head of InSite Development in Woodland Hills has already transformed a nine-block stretch of West Lancaster Boulevard in the heart of downtown Lancaster into what has become known as “The BLVD.” The area, once a high-crime corridor lacking consumers, now houses a vibrant streetscape with a museum, bowling alley, an alcohol-serving theater, apartments, dog groomer, eateries and other retail businesses. Ehrlich expects to soon break ground on his latest idea for the boulevard – a Residence Inn Marriott extended stay hotel – which he says will be his last contribution there, at least on the main corridor. “This is the last missing piece of our long-term plan for the boulevard to make it a destination,” Ehrlich said. “This is something we’ve dreamed about, and talked about, since we started with the downtown project.” The developer has made an agreement with Marriott International Inc. for a 105-room hotel on a 1.5-acre lot he owns in front of the vacant Union Bank building, which will soon house a Starbucks and a yoga studio. Hotels in Lancaster are not close to the boulevard scene or other walkable areas, Ehrlich said. He wants to attract business travelers, contractors for the Lockheed Martin Corp. Skunk Works facility in Palmdale and families coming to the area for soccer and softball tournaments at Lancaster’s Big 8 Softball Complex, which hosts 800-plus tournament teams and 460-plus league teams annually. The $20 million project, a price that includes the land, will also be Ehrlich’s first hotel. The seasoned apartment builder has hired L.A. hotel architect Gene Fong Associates to design the property with a high-end look rather than a typical hotel look. “It’s more of an infill downtown Residence Inn rather than like one on the 14 freeway,” he said. Ehrlich also signed a five-year agreement with a Marriott operator to run the hotel. It should be approved soon by the city, which Ehrlich says is in favor of the project. He expects to start construction in the first quarter of next year and finish in 2018. Live-Work-Play Van Nuys’ four-year-old real estate development company Uncommon just broke ground in Chatsworth on its first project – the future home of multi-faceted toymaker MGA Entertainment Inc., also in Van Nuys. Dubbed 24 after the project’s 24-acre size, the $150 million-plus project will adapt and reuse the 256,000-square-foot site of the former Los Angeles Times printing plant for MGA and include substantial housing, office and retail space. Uncommon is a partnership between Jason Larian, vice president of business development for MGA, and Ryan Hekmat, his brother-in-law. Jason Larian is also the son of Isaac Larian, MGA’s chief executive. Uncommon’s partners aim to turn the project into a live/work campus housing much of MGA’s workforce. The site at 20000 Prairie St. will have more than 1 million square feet of mixed-use light industrial, corporate office, retail and residential space, including four apartment buildings with between 600 and 700 units, a gym, two pools, a sports park, gardens, a sundeck, a preschool, yoga studio, walking tracks, an amphitheater and an outdoor cinema, along with restaurants. It will also be near public bus and train stations. Uncommon owns the land, according to Jason Larian, and tenants so far include MGA, a childcare operator and a production studio. Uncommon also will act as landlord for the apartments. Jason Larian said he came up with the idea living in Hong Kong, which has live-work-play communities. Upscale Dorms California State University – Channel Islands in Camarillo has opened its newest student housing complex, following a trend of increasingly upscale amenities for colleges and universities. The four-story Santa Rosa Village houses 600 students in dorms that have suites with kitchens, and common areas that include flat screen TVs, refrigerators, microwaves, toasters, Keurig coffee machines, kitchen tables, chairs and a sink. Students also have access to swimming pools. “Our intention was to provide the ‘wow’ factor for our customers,” said Dave Nirenberg, senior director of university auxiliary services. Staff Reporter Carol Lawrence can be reached at (818) 316-3123 or clawrence@sfvbj.com.

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