The California State University Board of Trustees has approved a plan to develop a 149-room hotel at the Cal State Northridge campus despite protests from a labor union and concerns over the need for such a facility.
The Los Angeles Daily News reports that the board voted 20-1 in favor of the project, a Hilton Garden Inn, which will stretch across a three-acre site and replace the Orange Grove Bistro, a restaurant on the campus.
“The development of an on-campus hotel has been a long-term goal for CSUN, and we are excited to see the project moving forward,” University President Dianne F. Harrison said. “As a public-private partnership, the hotel will provide valuable financial support for the university — at no cost to the state of California and no cost to our students. For too long, we have not had adequate hotel facilities near campus to serve our nearly 40,000 students, the scholarly activities of our talented faculty, vibrant Division I athletics programs, world-class Younes and Soraya Nazarian Performing Arts Center, and our surrounding community."
The 82,000-square-foot hotel will include 1,000 square feet of meeting space and 128 parking spaces, all of which will be adjacent to the hotel. Construction is anticipated to begin in June 2020, with the hotel opening expected in September 2021.
The university will require the project to be designed and built with enough environmentally friendly elements to achieve LEED Gold certification.
Trustee Romey Sabalius said he was aware of concerns among some residents about whether a hotel is needed, especially compared with the unmet demand for student housing. But there are “different funding models, and one doesn’t preclude the other, and the president showed that Northridge is going ahead with student housing,” he said.
In recent weeks, a labor union expressed concerns about a contract between CSUN and Corvias Group, which is expected to build and manage the on-campus hotel.
The company, which will finance, construct, operate and maintain the on-campus hotel, has been under fire for operating what critics call substandard housing conditions for military families.
The university first announced its plans in 2016 to build a hotel and restaurant for guests, visiting students and their families.
Rick Evans, executive director of The University Corporation, a separate entity managing university commercial activities, said the absence of adequate hotel facilities near campus limits Cal State Northridge's ability to support many events and programs that connect the university with students and their families and alumni.