The annual State of the City event in Garden Grove last week brought out a lot of oohs-and-ahhs and a fair amount of “finally!”
Mayor Steve Jones was able to make news by listing the participants in the SteelCraft urban eatery planned for a location on Euclid Street in an expanded downtown area just one block east of Main Street.
The choice businesses will serve pizza, ice cream, wine, beer, breakfast (all day!), Asian fusion chicken and more. Garden Grove’s SteelCraft is expected to begin construction soon and open in the second half of 2018.
It’s going to be a huge success, we predict, and could represent the biggest turning point in the Big Strawberry’s original central business district in half a century.
But, from a development standpoint, the thing that towered over everything (literally) was the announcement that two of the three hotels planned for the Site C – vacant land on Harbor Boulevard (south of the Target department store) have been named.
One is The Kimpton, a boutique 200-room, four-star hotel. The second is a Le Meridien, a 400-room tower. In case you’re not familiar with those brands, they are both high-end hotels, but the latter is a luxury chain with its origins in Paris.
The site will feature two restaurants and two rooftop bars. There are only 21 other Le Meridien hotels in the United States and 77 in the Asia Pacific area, 17 each in Europe and the Middle East. It has the potential to be one of the top hotels in all of Orange County, which means not just more prestige but also a bunch of “bed tax,” which represents a huge chunk of the city budget.
If you’re not in the right tax bracket – not announced yet, but expected to be in the $450 to $500 per night range – to flop there some evening, there’s still a benefit to you in terms of taxes to be paid into city coffers for the next 50 years or so.
Short term rental plan not quite ready
Short-term vacation rentals have been in the news in many Orange County cities over the past year. Supporters say they spruce up neighborhoods; opponents say they create more problems – noise, litter, traffic – than any benefits.
Huntington Beach City Councilman Patrick Brenden had a compromise idea: allow hosted short-term rentals where the property owners stayed on the premises, but keep the ban otherwise.
It was on the agenda for Monday’s meeting of the City Council but didn’t come under discussion.
“I withdrew the item because a couple of issues came up that I felt warranted further research,” according to Brenden. Will the idea come back? “Probably but the timelines is uncertain,” he said.
Things aren’t quite that bleak … yet
If you’re one of those people a bit nervous after the story in the OC Tribune recently that violent crime was up sharply in Garden Grove and Huntington Beach for the first half of 2017, don’t buy the barbed wire and Rottweilers just yet.
For example, in the Big Strawberry, there were just two murders in the time period examined, a pretty small number for a city of 180,000 people. Compare that to Little Rock, Arkansas (196,000) with 23 homicides. In Garden Grove, incidents of rape dropped from 13 to six. The category showing the biggest jump was in aggravated assaults, going from 154 incidents to 184. But those are the kinds of crimes which often happen around 3 a.m. among some beer-soaked nimrods with more Coors than sense.
Huntington Beach, which reported an even-bigger percentage increase than GG, had no murders during that time. The biggest jump there was in, you guessed it, aggravated assault (114 to 150).
That’s something to think about when alcohol sales permits are handed out. Liquid courage again may be to blame, but the final takeaway is that while crime is clearly up, it doesn’t mean we’re living in a 21st century version of Chicago’s lower eastside in the Al Capone era.
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Categories: Across the Area