Council OKs 133-room Hyatt hotel

PASO ROBLES The Paso Robles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the development of a new, 133-room Hyatt Place Hotel on a 3.1-acre plot near the corner of Theatre Drive and Highway 46 West, near the current location of La Bellasera Hotel and the Hampton Inn & Suites and the future location of the Hotel Alexa, a 35-room boutique hotel recently approved by the Paso Robles Planning Commission.

Zenique Hotels first submitted the project for city review in November of 2017. The City Design Review Committee approved the project in December of 2017 and the Paso Robles Planning Commission also approved the project in April of this year.

Zenique Hotels President and Chief Operating Officer Rupesh Patel said that the company is “family-owned and operated and focused on people — the people being our guests and, more importantly our associates.”

“We create an environment that all of our associates can enjoy and are proud of and one of the ways we do that is we get involved in the community,” Patel continued. “We’re not asset owners, we’re owner-operators. We don’t just look at profitability. Obviously, we’re a business so we have to look at that, but we have a real high sense of pride in the properties that we develop. We want to create it like it’s our home and all of our associates who work there, we want that to be their home and we treat them like family as well.”

Patel said that his team has been working with City staff for the past two years, incorporating their ideas and ideas generated by the Design Review Committee into the final design of the hotel.

“I think that we’ve designed something that is beautiful and that everyone can enjoy,” he said.

Patel said that construction of the hotel will be completed via a unique “modular” construction process that will reduce construction time, noise, debris and waste.

“All of the rooms are built off-site,” he said. “And for simplicity sake, they’re stacked like Legos. It’s not that easy, but essentially it’s the same thing.”

The only real concerns Council expressed about the project had to do with traffic congestion in area, although a traffic study completed as part of the Environmental Impact Report showed no traffic impacts “beyond a threshold of significance.” 

Council member John Hamon recalled being caught in a line of cars on Theatre Drive last December that stretched around the block and backed up to Highway 101. Hamon suggested that the traffic signal at Theatre Drive and Highway 46 West is to blame.

“The timing was way off on something and I don’t think it’s changed much since then,” he said. “The Hyatt, I don’t think is going to be the major culprit here, it’s just the fact that the timing of the equipment is just not working for what we have currently and that’s a major problem that I have with the traffic issue.”

Paso Robles resident Stu Stoddard also took issue with the results of the traffic study.

“My concern with this project is not the project at all,” Stoddard said. “We are not concerned with the project and we value what you have suggested, however, there is concern in my mind for the traffic study and the insinuation that there are no impacts beyond a threshold of significance at that location. As a resident of that area, we see those queuing lines often.”

Public Works Director Dick McKinley said that his department would “encourage” Caltrans officials to look into the issue, but didn’t seem very hopeful about the results.

“Ultimately, they give preference to Highway 46 West and the operations of the interchange and especially the operations of Highway 101,” McKinley said.

Hamon and Stoddard both said that they’d like to see some short-term measure taken to improve traffic flow at the location, but McKinley offered no solutions there either.

“I don’t think there’s anything we could do at this point,” he said.

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