Diamond Bar City Council Approves Hotel Zoning for Old Honda Site

The old vacant Honda site at Grand Avenue and the 57/60 freeway interchange will be zoned for a hotel.

The Diamond Bar City Council Tuesday night voted 5-0 to approve giving the property a hotel overlay zone designation.

The vote comes a month after the Planning Commission voted in favor of recommending the action to the council.

At the commission meeting, a couple of people in the audience called on city officials to hold off on the designation, citing the California Department of Transportation's plans to revamp the adjacent 57/60 freeway interchange.

Also uncertain is what the City of Industry plans to do with its property on the other side of the Honda site. Developer Majestic Realty has proposed an NFL stadium for the Grand Crossing site, setting a business center as the back up plan should the stadium not happen.

Community Development Direct Greg Gubman said the city's market study and the zone overlay push is part of an effort to protect one of the few commercial properties the city has left to develop. Honda moved out of the site in 2008. The Burger King on the property closed in February 2012.

The City Council has set goals for development of the site, Gubman said at the commission meeting. The overlay designation would ensure that any development plan for the area submitted include a hotel as the primary use, he said.

"They are seeking the best interest of the community, not just the highest revenue for the property owner," he said.

He added that the city was aware of plans to revamp the freeway and that it would only affect a small sliver of land on the property.

In March, the Diamond Bar City Council voted to approve a $49,000 agreement with AECOM to do the market analysis.

The firm looked at the potential for office, hotel, and retail uses for the site.

"Retail is not a very strong option for this site," Gubman said at last month's commission meeting.

One reason is because of the amount of existing retail space in town, he added.

A hotel on the site could have up to 190 rooms with nothing developed next to it, up to 295 with a stadium, and up to 405 if the Industry Business Center is built, according to the study.

"The highest revenue generating potential for the site would be through the transient occupancy tax," he said of the source of revenue cities get from hotels. "A hotel-based development on the site would be the highest and best municipal use."


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