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Mission Inn Hotel throws a ‘Hail Mary’

Hopeful developers tried to appeal a Riverside City Commission’s decision before the city council on Tuesday in an attempt to save their building project, but the Mission Inn intervened.

Real estate investment firm, Greens Ehrenberg, LLC (Greens), has proposed with developers Overland Development Company the construction of a downtown Marriott AC Hotel. The project would utilize and rehabilitate what was once the 1957 Central Fire Station. The item on the city council agenda was set by the Land Use, Sustainability, and Resilience Committee, specifically asking the council to uphold an appeal made by Greens and approve a Certificate of Appropriateness that was previously denied by the city’s Cultural Heritage Board.

One day before the meeting, legal representatives of the historic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa submitted a 54-page letter to the city clerk’s office, claiming that the proposed hotel “does not qualify for an exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).”

In response, the city council said they had more material to cover than they had time to prepare before the scheduled agenda item and voted to postpone the public hearing until October.

Andrew Walcker, president of Overland Development Company, said he and his team are disappointed their opportunity to speak before the council was stayed for 60 days, although he understands their position.

“This letter made baseless claims under the California Environmental Quality Act,” Walcker said. “Their intent was not to constructively contribute to our development but to cause a last-minute delay under false pretenses and an attempt to tell the City how to interpret their own Municipal Codes.”

He continued that as they wait, they will use the extra time to prepare for their public hearing.

“This project will put Riverside on the map as having the first and only Marriott AC Hotel east of Irvine and only the 12th in the State!” he said.