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Less than a year after opening an eight-story, 210-room hotel by the Irvine Spectrum, R.D. Olson Development has proposed building another hotel next door.
Plans for the property call for a 15-story, 250-room full-service Marriott with amenities like a rooftop bar, valet service and cabanas by the pool. The cost is estimated “just north of $100 million,” said R.D. Olson’s Jonathon Vopinek, vice president for asset management.
“It’s a big investment. We weren’t looking to build another hotel that quickly,” he said. “We’re building it because it’s what the customers were asking for.”
Irvine last saw a new hotel open in December 2009.
Bookings are “off the charts” Monday through Wednesday at the Courtyard, Vopinek said.
“Our Courtyard is far exceeding our underwriting expectations,” he said. “There’s a business traveler there that wants a nice place to stay. We’ve met that need.”
Olson has been on a building tear. In 2014, the company broke ground on the first hotel in Old Town Pasadena in more than 15 years, the latest in a spate of new hotels for the company. The company has multiple projects underway in California, and the Olson name is on hotels near the 55 freeway in Tustin, on Pacific Coast Highway just south of Huntington Beach’s Main Street and in Burbank, among others.
During the recession, two sources of income made up the majority of the money Irvine took in each year: sales and property taxes. But before the slump, there was another significant contributor: hotels.
The “big two” is back to being the “big three” again, Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway said.
When the Hilton Garden Inn John Wayne Airport hotel opens, that will boost room inventory in Irvine by 5 percent.
The five-story property on Morse Avenue will add 170 rooms. The hotel is taking reservations starting Aug. 12.
City planners are reviewing the Irvine Spectrum Marriott. A city commission will get final say on the project.
At the moment, the Irvine Co. is in the process of selling the land – a current parking lot – to R.D. Olson, company spokesman Bill Lobdell said.
While the hotel would be full-service, it won’t be as luxurious as a J.W. Marriott, the chain’s higher-end brand.
“We don’t think people in Irvine want a spa or turndown service,” Vopinek said. Still, “it’s definitely for the executive.”
If approved, the Courtyard and new hotel would be a complex of sorts, with a passageway connecting the buildings’ ballrooms.
Vopinek said the proposal’s timing anticipates growing demand in the area.
Next year, the Irvine Co. plans to open a 21-story office tower at 200 Spectrum Center Drive. The firm also has proposed building a second high-rise nearby.
A few miles away, tech giant Broadcom, now owned by Singapore-based Avago Technologies, is moving forward with a 2 million square-foot corporate campus.
If approved, Vopinek said construction could start as soon as November. Tentatively, the hotel could open in summer 2017.
Writer: Sarah De Crescenzo (OC Register)