San Bernardino County Sun05/12/04SBIA AREA HUB PROJECT ADVANCING Planning panel OKs permits for 2 hotels near Sam’s Club By TERESA ROCHESTERStaff Writer SAN BERNARDINO – Bulldozers shove broken concrete into a pile on the northwest corner of Harriman Place and Tippecanoe Avenue. This will be the site of two hotels.Across the street to the west of the new Sam’s Club, a sign proclaims that a BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery will be coming soon. Elephant Bar is also coming soon. Coldstone Creamery, Redstone American Grill and Pick up Stix are also slated for the area.The Hub, as this retail project is called, is becoming a center of activity. “The project is moving along pretty good there,’ 3rd Ward Councilman Gordon McGinnis said. The new hotels and restaurants mean more tax revenues for San Bernardino in the form of hotel and sales taxes. But San Bernardino’s redevelopment agency, which put the Hub together, won’t profit from the incremental property tax the projects will generate.The Hub falls within another redevelopment agency’s purview. That agency, the Inland Valley Development Agency, won’t share the profits.The IVDA is responsible for redeveloping the area around San Bernardino International Airport, formerly Norton Air Force Base. “It would have been nice to get some of our investment back,’ said Gary Van Osdel, executive director of the San Bernardino Economic Development Agency. “It helped clean up an area. It helped clean up the entrance of the base.’ Redevelopment agencies don’t rely on cities for their budgets. The incremental property tax revenue would have been a small help. Van Osdel said that things have changed since the inception of the Hub project. San Bernardino can now do development deals within the IVDA’s area and share in the tax-increment profits. None of the projects the San Bernardino Economic Development Agency has planned is geared to meet the needs of the burgeoning airport AREA. Mattel and Kohl’s have distribution warehouses there. Stater Bros. is moving its operations from Colton to the former base, and Pep Boys will also open a warehouse. “Any role we play will be purely accidental,’ Van Osdel said. “We haven’t had any ongoing dialogue or discussion with Hillwood or IVDA about what they are up to or how we might assist the effort.’ While the assistance may be coincidental, Van Osdel and others say the additional hotel rooms are sorely needed. On Tuesday, the Planning Commission approved conditional use permits for a Fairfield Inn and a Residence Inn on Harriman Place, across the street from Sam’s Club, the Hub’s first big tenant.Both of the hotels are brands of Marriott. The Residence Inn offers amenities such as kitchens. The 23,191-square-foot, four-story hotel will have 96 rooms and sit on 2.32 acres.The Fairfield Inn will have 16,871 square feet and have 94 rooms, including suites. The two brands are geared to sit on the edges of cities as opposed to downtowns, said Kenneth Scheel, a project manager with Tharaldson Development.Proximity to freeways, universities with good sports programs and new malls are criteria Scheel’s company uses in selecting potential locations.Construction is set to begin next month. BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery and Elephant Bar were recently approved by the city, Planning Director Valerie Ross said.