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Galaxy Far, Far Away: Star Wars Land Spurs Commercial Development Around Disneyland

The galaxy far, far away is coming to Anaheim, and hospitality businesses in the area are preparing for an influx of tourists upon completion of Disney's Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

The Wincome Group Asset Manager Paul Sanford, whose company is developing the four diamond Westin Anaheim Resort on Katella Boulevard, said any new attraction Disneyland creates will greatly impact hospitality and retail businesses in the market.

A model display of the Millennium Falcon being built for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland in Anaheim.

“It’s always massive,” said Sanford, whose company has owned hotel property near Disneyland since the early 1990s and experienced a spike in visitor traffic when Disney opened Disney California Adventure in 2001 and Cars Land in 2012. 

With Star Wars land underway, Sanford expects hotels in the Anaheim area to see a boost in occupancy rates by 7% to 14% that will last anywhere between 18 to 24 months. He also said new attractions often lead to an immediate 10% to 15% bump in rates.

The 14-acre Star Wars land is the largest single-themed expansion ever built at Disneyland. The billion-dollar project is under construction and expected to be complete in the summer of 2019.

Arena Group President Bobby Bhagat, whose company is in a joint venture with Prospera Hotels to develop the 178-unit Hampton Inn and Suites on Katella Boulevard, said he converted his former Arena Inn and Suites motel to a three-star Hampton to stay competitive.

"Anaheim is a very competitive market with thousands of hotel rooms in the immediate area," Bhagat said. "And to stay competitive, I wanted to build a new interior corridor hotel that would attract a higher-spending demographic."

Bhagat said with Disneyland, the convention center, Angel Stadium and Honda Center, he is bullish on the area's potential to continue driving visitors to Anaheim.

"Hotels and tourism-related businesses in the Anaheim District Resort will remain valuable for many years to come," he said.

Check out some of the projects in Anaheim that have recently received approvals from the city's planning department or are currently under construction:

JW Marriott at the GardenWalk 

A rendering of the four-diamond JW Marriott in Anaheim

Approved in 2013 after the Anaheim City Council provided $158M in room tax subsidy, the JW Marriott at the GardenWalk broke ground in November and is slated for completion by early 2020. The 12-story JW Marriott includes 466 rooms, and is being developed by Bill O'Connell and Ajesh Patel.

 Westin Anaheim Resort

Westin Anaheim Resort

Currently under construction, the $250M Westin Anaheim Resort sits next to the Anaheim Convention Center and Disneyland Resort. The four diamond property is one of at least four upscale hotels being built in Anaheim. The Westin will offer 613 rooms, restaurants and a rooftop lounge.

 Park Vue Inn

A rendering of the proposed renovation of the Park Vue Inn

Owner Paul Durand plans to convert the two-story, 86-room Park Vue Inn motel into a new seven-story, 180-room hotel with a restaurant and retail. Built by his grandfather in 1962, the Park Vue Inn on Harbor Boulevard sits right across the street from Disneyland Resort. The city's planning commission approved the project in 2016.

 Hampton Inn & Suites

Hampton Inn & Suites in Anaheim

In a joint venture, Arena Group and Prospera Hotels is constructing a five story, 178-room Hampton Inn & Suites. The development currently under construction replaces Bhagat's former Arena Inn motel at 100 West Katella Ave.

The hotel is expected to open in December.

The Anaheim Hotel 

The Anaheim Hotel

Wincome Group, an affiliate of Good Hope International, recently spent $8M renovating the aging Anaheim Hotel, which sits on Harbor Boulevard across the street from Disneyland Resort. The hotel will later be razed to make way for a new upscale, four diamond, eight-story, 580-room hotel.