Three New Hotels Planned for Loma Linda, Calif.

Dec. 25--LOMA LINDA -- A city with just one hotel could soon have three more.

Developers have expressed interest in building three hotels, two or three restaurants and other retail shops near the northwest corner of Redlands Boulevard and Richardson Street.

The project would develop prime real estate south of Interstate 10 and provide a significant boost to the city's tax base, officials said.

"A hotel is a good business," Mayor Robert Christman said. "We need that in our city."

The City Council tentatively agreed in October to sell 2.7 acres of city Redevelopment Agency-owned land to an Anaheim developer interested in building a hotel. That land would be combined with the 5.3 acres the developer already owns to complete the project.

BHG Development Co. offered more than $1million for the agency-owned property, City Manager Dennis Halloway said. The city would have the land appraised and other details worked out before any agreement is finalized, he said.

The eight-acre property is slated to include a four-story, 121-room Value Place, an extended-stay economy hotel chain with 640 franchises nationwide but none so far in California, said Donald Rich, BHG's director of development operations.

Microtel Inns and Suites has expressed interest in a 67-room establishment just east of Value Place, Rich said.

And a full-service 110- to 120-room hotel such as a Holiday Inn Express is planned east of Microtel, he said.

Two or three sit-down restaurants are also in the works, along with plans for retail uses such as a fitness center, cell phone distributor and coffee house in a small strip center close to Redlands Boulevard, Rich said.

BHG Development plans to build the Value Place hotel. Galt Acquisitions and Holdings, which is owned by the same people as BHG, would sell the land for the other hotels, restaurants and retail uses, he said.

Rich said he expects plans to be submitted early next year, with construction starting in the spring and Value Place opening in September or October. The other hotels and businesses would be built "fairly fast," Rich said.

The only hotel in the city is the 41-room Loma Linda Inn on University Avenue, which re-opened in 2005 after being purchased and renovated by the Loma Linda University Foundation.

Gus Cheatham, vice president for public affairs at Loma Linda University and Medical Center, said graduation and homecoming events at the institution can bring in hundreds or thousands of out-of-town visitors who have a hard time finding hotel rooms in the area.

Patients who go to the Proton Treatment Center for cancer care also could benefit from an extended-stay hotel, he said.

"We have people who often cannot get a room close by," Cheatham said. "We are supportive of good projects coming into Loma Linda, including hotels."

Copyright (c) 2006, San Bernardino County Sun, Calif. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.