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Issue Preview: Convention Plan Returns

Officials in Camarillo have been talking about building a hotel and conference center for years, hoping to capitalize on local demand for meeting space and overflow business traffic from the western San Fernando Valley and Ventura County. But the idea languished through the recession and looked all but dead after California’s redevelopment agencies were dissolved in 2012. The city had earmarked a redevelopment agency parcel at Las Posas Road and the 101 Freeway for the convention center. Old ideas die hard, though: The plan finally appears to be moving forward, with the land back in city hands and negotiations underway for development of a complex composed of a 700-seat conference center, a 200-room hotel and around 45,000-square-feet of retail shops and restaurants, possibly anchored by a Cheesecake Factory. Last month, the City Council unanimously chose Mian Cos., a Dallas real estate development firm whose founder T.M. Mian lives in Camarillo, to develop the project. Camarillo Mayor Bill Little said that both local and regional business groups could use the conference center, including California State University, Channel Islands, which was established in 2002. “They have indicated that they could make good use of the space since they don’t have any facilities on campus yet to accommodate groups and conferences,” he said. “There’s really a need in the central part of Ventura County for a conference center and a hotel to accompany it.” But Little – Camarillo’s city manager in the late 1990s before he retired in 2000 and ran for City Council in 2012 – said he’s well aware that such projects can be risky. Read the full story in the July 13 issue of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.

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