Diamond Bar City Council to Consider Hotel Zone for Honda Site

A Honda dealership on the site moved out in mid 2008 and Burger King in February 2012.

Plans to give the former Diamond Bar Honda a hotel overlay zone designation could move forward this week.

The Diamond Bar City Council is expected to consider whether to approve the designation at its meeting Tuesday.

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.

However, two of the three commissioners there disagreed that the city should wait to set the hotel designation.

"If by changing it to an overlay zone that gives us better marketing, I feel that that is the right step," Commisioner Ashok Dhingra said. "I feel that the homework has been done and we cannot really afford to wait for either Caltrans to make up their mind about how they are going to realign the freeway...or the city of LA to make up its mind whether they are going to build a stadium or not."

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.

As for the freeway plan, phase one involves the construction of 60 westbound on ramps. That project will slide off .7 acres of the Honda site on the southern edge, Gubman said.

The subsequent phase involves construction of a Grand Avenue off ramp and the creation of two right turn lanes, which will cut into the Diamond Bar Golf Course, he said, adding that the full golf course will remain but be reconfigured.

Other changes to the freeway are planned down the line, but the city aware of what is going to happen with the Honda site, he said.

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.

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."

The Diamond Bar City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the AQMD Government Center, 21865 Copley Drive.

Michael January 20, 2014 at 10:03 PM
I wonder what the real story is, the DB Council has to answer to their City of Industry bosses- they don't do much out of the kindness of their heart. My guess is COI wants to build a big shopping/entertainment center there and wants the hotel designation before it gets to the public for a "fight." The NFL stadium will NEVER happen. No one will oppose this move because it seems "meaningless." Then when the full plan comes to light, it will be too late to reverse it. COI has a free pass with their EIR exemption, BUT this piece of property is not covered by that swindle, it's in DB. People, there are no coincidences in this town, please wake up and smell the Sanka.
Vito Spago January 21, 2014 at 08:56 AM
Michael: I believe you are right. They are setting things up for when Roski wants to build the entertainment center on his property. There will be a big stink. May as well get this Honda Dealer property positioned now where they want it before the fireworks start. I believe that Walnut and DB will wish that an NFL stadium would have been build there. That would only mess up traffic on a few Sundays. What is going to be put there will mess up traffic daily, continuously.
Adela January 21, 2014 at 10:23 AM
Do we know yet what retailer is going to take the Ralph's Market building? We were told in 2014 it would be announced.
Ray Russell January 22, 2014 at 02:00 PM
Adela, it will most likely be just air! That seems to be the plight of empty commercial property in our town. Unless of coarse a bank or another learning center or real estate office wants the property!
gallec369 January 23, 2014 at 02:27 AM
Adela, the retailer going into the old Ralph's building is Walmart Neighborhood Market.


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