Derelict Anaheim motel to be converted into affordable housing


Just three miles from Angel Stadium, the opportunity to bring more affordable housing to Anaheim came with less political acrimony than recent plans for the stadium site.

During the same Anaheim City Council meeting that debated disagreements over approving a $96 million agreement with the state on the Surplus Land Act, the sale of the stadium and affordable housing, council members last week decided fate more clearly of a rundown motel.

For decades, the Tampico Motel on State College Boulevard has been a thorn in East Anaheim’s side.

But as part of the city’s 2019 motel conversion program, the 32-room motel will soon become an affordable place to live after Anaheim pledged to buy the 0.4-acre property for $5.3 million.

State Senator Tom Umberg helped provide $5.5 million in state funding for the city to leverage this fiscal year in this way.

The Anaheim Housing Authority originally attempted to purchase the 26-room Kona Inn on Brookhurst Street last year with the secured financing, but was unable to reach an agreed sale price with the owner.

City officials identified the Tampico Motel as an alternate location; It will be Anaheim’s third motel remodeling project since the program began, and will be similar to the state’s Homekey project.

“The Tampico Motel offers an opportunity to purchase land at a reasonable price, and it’s larger than the lot we originally planned to purchase,” Anaheim Housing Authority executive director Grace Ruiz-Stepter told council members during the meeting on Sept 04/26 “We know from our law enforcement colleagues that the property is the subject of some concerns about potential harassment.”

Councilor Stephen Faessel said the Tampico Motel has been “the focus of police action for decades.”

(Gabriel San Roman / Times Community News)

Councilor Stephen Faessel, who represents the precinct where the motel is located, described the East Terrace neighborhood beyond as “under siege”.

“You were too kind in the adjectives you used in relation to this property,” Faessel told Ruiz-Stepter. “This is a huge, huge win for State College [Boulevard]. Tampico has been the focus of police action for decades.”

Before the vote, Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu also welcomed the acquisition.

“This property is close to popular restaurants and shopping [and] services to the community,” he said. “It’s also at a major crossroads. State College Boulevard needs and deserves some attention.”

Once Anaheim completes the motel purchase, it will invite developers to submit plans to convert and redevelop the site for affordable housing.

Anaheim will also help cover relocation costs for long-term residents of the Tampico Motel.

Although it was still early in the process, Ruiz-Stepter believed a “primary use” for the property would be a conversion into senior living similar to the El Verano Apartments, which were built on the site of the former Sandman Motel and now serve the formerly homeless – risk seniors.

“The affordable housing developer community is very creative,” she added, “and often exceeds our expectations.”

After a brief discussion, the council members unanimously approved the purchase of the motel.


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