GARDEN GROVE—A $277 million, four-star Nickelodeon resort hotel will build with a Community Workforce Agreement. In a major victory for the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, the Garden Grove City Council added a requirement to adopt the agreement when it approved the project by unanimous vote September 13, 2022.
The city, directly to the south of Anaheim, hopes to become a prime tourist attraction in its own right.
“This is a historic project for Garden Grove,” said Councilwoman Stephanie Klopfenstein. “It will drive tourism.” She also said having the Building Trades involved is very important. “I love the idea of local hire and having people live and work here in the local community.”
The resort hotel is planned on 3.72 acres at the northwest corner of Harbor Boulevard and Twintree Avenue next to the Sheraton Hotel. It will include 500 guest rooms, a themed pool experience with a lazy river, a 600-seat theater, grand ballroom, fitness center and a variety of food and beverage facilities. It will offer entertainment features unique to Nickelodeon such as a Nick Studio, Studio Hall, Kid’s Lounge and the Odeon, a fine dining restaurant.
The 335-foot hotel tower will have a unique serpentine shape with a transparent glass façade. Also there will be 528 parking spaces contained within a 5-level parking structure.
Construction Slated for 2024
Groundbreaking is anticipated for 2024, with completion in 2027.
Lester Adams, vice president of global business development for Paramount Global, spoke glowingly about opening the Nickelodeon hotel. “It is an important step for us to find the best domestic markets to put this brand,” said Adams, adding that Garden Grove is “one of the best family travel markets in the country.”
This will be the first United States outpost for Nickelodeon. It will join just two other Nickelodeon resorts in the world. That makes it all the more important to build with a local, skilled and trained workforce.
The Building Trades Council currently has a Community Workforce Agreement with the city of Garden Grove to cover a list of substantial public works.
The proposed Nickelodeon hotel is a private project, but extensive public assistance to the developer is helping it pencil out. The assistance includes a big discount on the price of the land, and refunding back to the owner much of the occupancy tax that tourists will pay over the next 30 years.
A Destination Project
“To achieve the scale of destination project despite the significant challenges brought on by the Covid pandemic, an economic development assistance program is necessary to bring the project forward,” said Lisa Kim, the city’s Community and Economic Development Director,
In return, the hotel will provide the city with a wealth of jobs and additional net tax revenue of about $236.4 million over 30 years.
The public would receive the best return on its investment through including community residents in construction, the City Council decided.
The upcoming agreement will set goals for hiring local residents and military veterans to build the hotel, which will generate between 600 and 700 construction jobs, 300 to 400 permanent hotel jobs and 200 temporary hotel jobs.
Ernesto Medrano, Orange County representative for the Building Trades, thanked the city staff for its work and praised the developer, Newage Garden Grove II LLC with Kam Sang Company as its managing partner, for agreeing to join forces.
“These kinds of projects provide awesome opportunities for young men and women that are not going to college,” Medrano said. “But we will be able to put them on a pathway to the middle class, and give the developer the best skilled and trained workforce there is in the country.” In addition, he said local hiring to build the hotel will “provide opportunities for folks to be able to spend their money locally here in Garden Grove and in the surrounding Orange County community.”
Medrano said he is excited to have another iconic construction project for his members, who have taken on other major high-profile challenges like the construction and almost-constant rebuilds of Disneyland in Anaheim, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood and the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles.
Among the union representatives urging the council to approve the Nickelodeon resort hotel, Richard Ayala, an apprentice with Iron Workers Local 416, said he was born and raised in Anaheim and currently lives only a few minutes from Garden Grove City Hall.
Noting that he recently has been commuting to work on the Intuit Dome for basketball’s Clippers in Inglewood, Ayala said working on the hotel in Garden Grove “would be a big opportunity not only to get home sooner to my daughter and my wife, but to help build a community I was basically raised in.”
Luis Aleman, lead project coordinator for the Orange County Labor Federation, thanked the large force of union construction workers at the council meeting. He said such skilled union members will “do a good job and make sure Garden Grove’s economy keeps moving forward.”
Garden Grove Mayor Steve Jones thanked all involved for their persistence in putting together the hotel project, which has been in the works for about a decade. “This is going to be amazing,” Jones said. “We can’t wait to see it break ground and we can’t wait to see it get done.”