Activists: Daly City hotel plan aims too high 

The height of a hotel and condominium project long wanted by the city for its banquet halls and ballrooms drew the ire of community advocates, who said the proposed eight stories would dwarf homes on Niantic Avenue.

Project opponents want the 150-room hotel, but said the condominiums on the top floors make the 217,000-square-foot project too tall, at 96 feet, to abut the two-story homes aligned on Niantic Avenue directly behind the project site.

The Planning Commission will vote on allowing the condominiums tonight as the city looks to pick up where it left off with hotelier B.B. Patel — who reinvigorated Palo Alto’s Cabana Hotel in 1996 — before the bottom dropped out of the hotel market after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The proposal includes a full-service hotel at the northern corner of Pacific Plaza in the Mission Street-Junipero Serra Redevelopment Project Area. The project would have 150 hotel rooms, two restaurants and a total of 12,500 square feet of banquet space and meeting rooms long sought by city officials tired of taking business to South San Francisco. Approximately 2,000 square feet of retail space for several shops will also be included.

The city expects roughly $700,000 in annual revenue from the development, according to staff reports. The room tax from the hotel is estimated to garner $640,000 per year while sales tax from the retail portion should bring in $60,000 annually. The Redevelopment Agency should pick up $583,000 in property taxes from the condos.

At the top of the eight-story building, 83 feet tall at on the side facing Niantic, are 20 corporate suites and 40 condominiums, according to staff reports.

"If they take away the condos, you’d have an acceptable height," said Annette Hipona, president of the Original Daly City Protective Association, of the condos and corporate suites that add another three floors to the project.

Additional complaints include a project that "undermines" the Redevelopment Agency’s 15 percent affordable housing requirement because the city isn’t asking Patel to include any affordable units, Hipona said.

Requiring affordable housing in the entire project would render the $51.6 million project infeasible, and other affordable housing projects, such as Schoolhouse Station and senior housing on Hillcrest Avenue, have "created a surplus in the area," according to staff reports.

Senior Planner Tatum Mothershead said that while city policy previously has been to require 15 percent affordable housing in each project, the law actually only requires that 15 percent of all housing within the redevelopment area be affordable.

"Because there have been projects that are 100 percent affordable … essentially there’s more than 15 percent in the entire area," Mothershead said.

To compensate for a $6.1 million difference between the $35.2 million cost of the hotel and its $29.1 million projected revenue, Patel suggested the $27.7 million condominium addition to make the development economically feasible.

Patel could not be reached for comment.

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