A flurry of new hotels will soon pop up around Disneyland – adding a staggering 19 percent more rooms in a district that had been dormant for a half-dozen years.
Developers plan to build 3,770 rooms – in an expansion and 14 new hotels. The first new hotel will open as early as December.
What’s up with those lots?
Some Disneyland-area lots seem like little is going on; perhaps they are vacant or have rundown buildings. Here are some updates:
Boogie lot: The triangular lot with the Boogie nightclub, which closed in 2006, and the Flakey Jakes restaurant has been leased by Disney since 2009.
Cuban Pete’s Caribbean Grill: The restaurant and nightclub, at 1050 W. Ball Road, closed in 2007 when the landlord decided to convert the lot into a hotel, which never was built. City planners have received no plans for the land.
Village Inn: The former Village Inn site, north of the strip mall on Harbor Boulevard and Katella Avenue, has been vacant for years. A developer turned in plans to construct a new hotel there in 2000, but nothing else has been done.
Battle of the Dance: The dance theater closed in June 2012 after being open a little more than a year. The $10 million project went on the site of a former Toys R Us store. The city has received no proposals for a new use.
Tourism and development officials say the industry is bouncing back after the recession, now that the financial market has loosened up and hoteliers are again able to get loans.
An added bonus to the Anaheim-Garden Grove swath near the two Disney parks: the popularity of the $1.1 billion upgrade of Disney California Adventure, with its new Cars Land that opened last summer.
Further, the Anaheim Convention Center – the largest such facility on the West Coast – has continued to expand and may do so again soon. A Garden Grove water park, just down the street from Disneyland, expects to break ground later this year.
“It’s an exciting time to be in Anaheim with the growth and opportunities and the momentum we have,” said Jay Burress, president of the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau. “We have to capitalize on it and take advantage of these good times.”
Tourism, of course, means big bucks to the cities’ coffers: Hotel bed taxes make up the biggest chunks of the budgets of both Anaheim and Garden Grove. Already, the area has roughly 20,000 rooms.
Years ago, it was supposed to be like this.
In 2007, a similar number of hotel plans were pitched in Anaheim. Some rooms were built on the Garden Grove side of Harbor Boulevard. But Anaheim’s hotel pipeline dried up. The last new lodge to open was the WorldMark Anaheim timeshare in 2008.
For years, some lots just sat untouched – until recently. Now, two corners at Harbor Boulevard and Katella Avenue – the main intersection near Disneyland – were razed and await new hotels with drug stores.
Anaheim officials approved, in 2008, a new Marriott Springhill Suites for Ball Road. Now, finally, it is under construction and due to open in December.
“As soon as the market tanked, financing was virtually impossible to get,” said Kiran Patel, president of DKN Hotels, which is developing the Marriott. “That was a bit of a roadblock, and we were just waiting for the economy to get better before we started. …
“It’s basically pent-up demand now, because there’s been no new supply for a long time,” Patel explained. “Most of the product in Anaheim is old. There is an opportunity for new hotels.”
As of June, the Anaheim-Garden Grove area had a 10 percent jump in hotel room revenue over the year before. Hotels are charging an average of $124 per room, according to Smith Travel Research.
“It’s really up nationwide,” Burress said of tourism. “We just happen to be doing exceptionally well.”
Of course, much of the tourism for this area is generated by Disneyland and adjacent Disney California Adventure, which together had more than 23 million guests last year.
Disneyland, the world’s second-busiest theme park behind its Florida sibling the Magic Kingdom, had a 1 percent drop. But California Adventure had a 23 percent hike in 2012.
“Hotel developers are seeing that it is a good time to be building and it makes sense,” said Alan Reay, president of Atlas Hospitality Group, a hotel-industry consultant.
Ajesh Patel, president of Prospera Hotels, involved in four of the new projects, said room rates will continue to rise as the hotels, which are needed, open.
“I think there’s enough demand to be absorbed,” Patel said. “Obviously, there’s a tremendous amount of inventory coming on the market, but … we’re not concerned.”