Some sequoias have already been removed, but Marriott saved logs to repurpose them around the city
By Monica Sanchez
Arcadia City Council convened on Sept. 5 once again to discuss minor changes to the Marriott development that will break ground next year, a project that has caused a lot of upset as sequoias on the property of the future hotel have been destroyed to make way for the development to commence on Huntington Drive.
Jason Kruckeberg, Assistant City Manager, emphasized that “There’s been a hotel on this site ever since 1955…When this project originally came in in 2014, there was a cultural resource study done that was prepared for the site. There were no significant resources identified through that work.”
But citizens of Arcadia begged to differ where “significant resources” were concerned as comments on Facebook came through about the sequoias being lost in order to give rise to the Marriott development.
Citizen Patricia Powell commented:
“You know that sequoias are a California tree. These are now native only to the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California and are found in groves at Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks, Giant Sequoia National Monument, Sequoia National Forest and other groves scattered throughout the Sierra Nevada. We in Arcadia should be proud that they are in our city and protect them.”
And citizen Gary E. Sikkens added, “Leave the trees. I mean really. Design around the trees.” But Robb MacMillan, Director of Development for Chateau Group USA insisted that it wasn’t possible to design around the trees.
However, MacMillan did share that:
“We did save 84 redwoods. Six of them had died off in the last few years due to lack of water…We’re going to trim that up and preserve those 84 trees that are left and add a few more where they died. We did have to cut down 16 of the redwoods. We did save the logs and made a special effort to do that. And we’re more than willing to work with the council and with planning to maybe re-purpose some of those into benches or plaques or whatever throughout the city. Obviously, we’re going to have a lot of wood chips, so we’ll make those available to the community as well.”
125 new trees will be planted to replace the trees taken down to make room for the Marriott development, and these trees will be much more drought tolerant according to MacMillan.
Back in March 2014, the project was approved for this site, and the “staff [of Arcadia] believes this is a significant upgrade,” said Kruckeberg.
220 rooms were officially approved at the public hearing on Sept. 5. The original proposed plan was for 210 rooms. Other changes included a revision to the design of the hotel and an added story to the development, making it six stories at its highest level.
Macmillan wants Arcadia to know that the Marriott development “has evolved into a spectacular asset…It’s probably going to be one of the nicest Deltas [a full service hotel] in the country. It’ll be the first new built Delta on the west coast…I know that when I started the project that the city council was looking forward to having their state of the city address at this hotel…We’ll launch a new period of time here for the City of Arcadia and a new feeling for the city with the contemporary art deco look…a lot of glass, a lot of openness, a lot of landscaping; it’s going to be a really spectacular project.”
The Marriott development plans to break ground in February or March of 2018 and “once we break ground we hope to have it up in 18 months if we’re lucky,” said Macmillan but included that it might take up to two years to complete.
And while citizens expressed their frustrations surrounding the nature of the future development online, there were no public comments from citizens at the hearing.