High-End Hotel in Rosemead?

Related to Barr Lumber, the city council recently signaled their wish that a high-end hotel or a "big box retailer" come to Rosemead, either at the Barr Lumber site or at the Auto Auction site (Garvey, about two blocks west of San Gabriel).

Nothing wrong with the wish, but it doesn't seem to be a very realistic hope. First, the size (smallish) and shape (long frontage on Walnut Grove, little depth) of the Barr Lumber site isn't appropriate for either development to go there. And even if it was, there just isn't room in the local market for another high-end hotel. Rosemead already has one "high end" hotel (Doubletree, near the Montebello Mall). Incidentally, the Double Tree submitted a proposal to the city about two years ago for an expansion plan that would create a new, spiffier wing, including a large ball room for weddings and what not. But the economics have derailed that plan. If an established hotel can't afford an exapansion, what's the hope of finding financing for an entirely new hotel being constructed?

Beyond the Doubletree, San Gabriel already has their Hilton. Other higher-end hotels already exist in Arcadia, Montebello, and, of course, Pasadena. Again, where's the niche that a high end hotel developer would find in Rosemead that they can't find in other, wealthier cities?

As for a big box development, the region is largely big boxed-out. Pretty much all the likely candidates for a big box store already have stores within five miles (Lowe's being the one possible exception). However, for any big box retailer eying the area, there are already more attractive locations coming down the pike. Big box stores prefer freeway access, and you can't get much better freeway access than right near the Pomona Freeway, where Monterey Park is workin on bringing a tremendously huge new project. Other cities are also planning redevelopment near their future Gold Line stations.

By contrast, the auto auction would be in a relatively dumpy part of town that doesn't have freeway exposure or easy freeway access and doesn't have a lot of appeal for a developer targeting higher-income customers (either hotel or retail). It *would* make some sense for something targeting lower income consumers, but the city council already decided seven years ago to put THAT big box development at Walnut Grove and Rush (the one area in the south that had relatively better-off neighbors, and where the public transit dependent could NOT get to the store using public transit!).

What about something besides

What about something besides retail? I know there's no money for libraries right now, but it would be nice if there were one put in there.

Southside demographics are a mix, old and new, middle class to poor. What's good are the schools, which have improved over time. It would be good if there were more, better white collar jobs. With better jobs, the retail mix will improve on its own.

Garvey's big liability is that the strip is hella ugly. It has zero appeal. We're also not in an area with an industrial specialty (except maybe sewing businesses). We have restaurants though, LOL. The fix isn't to make it pretty, but to figure out the right businesses, compatible with a residential area, that will have good jobs.

It's funny, because some

It's funny, because some Rosemead "PRIDE" people talk about how wonderful and small town Rosemead is. I always wonder if these guys ever get out of their homes, because there's nothing quaint or small-town about Garvey or Valley or Rosemead or San Gabriel. These are some very unattractive streets, and not the sort of place where people will want to stay to spend their money.

As far as retail goes, yeah,

As far as retail goes, yeah, it's just ugly. The mall is ok. The only problem is that malls aren't trendy right now.

Also, sometimes if you can't raise the money to make something nice right now, you can still build up business. That's kind of what farmers markets do - they build up business for a limited market that wouldn't be viable in regular retail spaces. Farmers markets are inherently generic, but the product mix makes it "nice".

Farmer's Markets

It's also because they feel like a special event. After all, nowadays, how often do people voluntarily walk along a street for more than 100 yards or so?

They're also somewhat environmentally friendly, since the produce they sell is grown "locally." Nothing got loaded on a boat or a plane to cross a hemisphere.

Cities all over the valley are opening up new farmers' markets, or expanding what they already have. By contrast, all we have in Rosemead (and San Gabriel, I think) are the fruit vendors on the street corner, which just isn't the same.

LOL. It's a paradox with the

LOL. It's a paradox with the fruit vendors. Some of them have good fruit.

I just started reading a report at the NSF from 2006.


"High concentrations of working poverty can create conditions of overcrowding and increase the cost of providing human services, low-cost housing, education, public transportation and fire and police protection. The team examined the impacts of municipal responses. For example, local governments in poor communities often attempt to fund the growing costs by diverting limited funds into attracting new businesses to create local jobs and increase income. Unfortunately, this strategy can often backfire, the researchers found, by reducing necessary services to residents while creating more low-paying jobs--perpetuating the cycle of working poverty and giving wealthier residents more reason to move away. "