Though the project has been on the city’s radar for five years, discussions with a local hotel owner/operator are still very active. On Tuesday, the Temecula City Council will take up the project again by deciding whether to approve a second amendment to a disposition and development agreement with Alitra, LLC.
The item is on the city’s consent calendar, which means discussion and a public hearing are not required to approve or deny the amendment.
Michael Patel is behind Alitra. He owns and operates several Marriott-brand hotels in the Temecula Valley. In fall 2017, Patel submitted a Letter of Interest to city staff to purchase the city-owned 3.64-acre vacant property on Temecula’s west side for the purpose of building another hotel, city documents show.
City staff later discussed the letter with City Council during a closed-session meeting, and on June 12, 2008, the council supported entering into a disposition and development agreement with Alitra, the documents show.
“Alitra continued to actively engage and work with the City Planning and Public Works Departments in development conversations on architecture and site plan layout,” according to city documents. “Alitra also opened escrow and deposited $50,000 into the account in good faith of moving forward with the development and purchasing the property.”
The discussed purchase price was not shown in city documents.
But by spring 2020, COVID-19 halted development projects around the globe. Alitra temporarily stopped its development and planning conversations, which caused the LLC to miss performance deadlines set forth in the disposition and development agreement with the city, the documents show.
With the COVID-19 shutdowns in the rearview mirror, the hotel project appears to be breathing life again. On Tuesday night, the Temecula City Council will consider amending the agreement to allow Alitra more time to “develop a quality hotel project during this economic recovery,” according to the city documents.
“The impacts of the pandemic on the tourism sector and specifically hotels are still felt today. As people ease back into traveling, the hotel market is steadily recovering. A sector that is also recovering is the construction materials and supply chain,” city staff detailed in the documents.
“Temecula has a historically strong tourism industry and, as such, it has also created a strong economy and fiscal foundation for the City,” the documents continued. “Travel spending in the Temecula Valley has reached over $1 Billion with over 3 million visitors in 2019 (pre-pandemic). A hotel at this location creates another opportunity for continued support of the City’s tourism sector.”
The corner property eyed for the project is zoned service commercial, which does not permit hotels. To accommodate Alitra’s proposal, a General Plan amendment and rezone would be required.
“Alitra is aware of these requirements and will formally apply for these planning applications should they opt to move forward …,” according to city documents.
The city-owned parcel was most recently used as a staging area for the Riverside County Flood Control/Army Corps of Engineers, Murrieta Creek Enhancement project. The project is now complete, so the staging area is no longer needed, according to city documents.
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