Business is booming in Visalia Business Research Park

Plans for a new Hilton Garden Inn Hotel have been approved by the Planning Commission of Visalia. The 113-room hotel is to be built in Visalia’s BRP (Business Research Park) and promises to bring jobs and tourism to Visalia and the surrounding areas.

Planner Paul Bernal successfully managed to get the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) approved June 24 and put the ball back in Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.’s court. The next step is filing for a building permit before ground is broken.

“There are three different master plans in the BRP,” said Bernal. “There is the Plaza Business Park, the Square at Plaza and the Gateway Business Park, where the new Hilton will be located.”

The architectural theme will be consistent with “Early California Mission Style”, incorporating smooth plaster finishes, El Dorado stone veneer and tile roofs as stated in the Gateway Business Park master plan (Planning Commission Agenda Monday June 24, 2019).

“We want to support growth in the area,” said city council member Brian Pochoogian. “Our hope is that guests will come into Visalia to do business, use our services and enjoy our restaurants.”

The BRP is adjacent to Visalia’s booming Industrial Park just south of Hurley Street with close access to Highway 198 and State Route 99. Although the zone has existed for decades, just over 10% of the 150 acres has been built upon and 90-100 acres have been planned for and approved by the city.

A study consistent with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) concluded that the environmental impacts would be negligible. A small addendum adding 13 rooms to the initial plan of 100 rooms was approved.

“The UPS distribution center provides a great hub for new businesses in addition to excellent freeway access,” continued Pochoogian. “We have great infrastructure in place. Visalia has done a great job handling growth. We hope to create jobs and provide services not only for Visalia but also for surrounding cities like Hanford, Exeter and Lemoore.”

The Industrial Park just north of the site features multi-million dollar companies including California Dairies, JoAnn Stores Distribution Center and VF Corporation and continues to grow, boosted by a $130 million investment in roads and infrastructure such as sewer and electric connections.

Across Hurley Street, the BRP features a commercial research “campus-like setting” according to members of the Planning Commission. It is intended to engender foot traffic and more development over the next few years, including restaurants, retail stores and more. Emphasis on education and research with some light industry is the goal. The BRP is intended to have a much less strenuous set of provisions than its neighbor, the Industrial Park.

City council member Steve Nelsen told The Valley Voice that he respected Hilton as a company: “They have done their due diligence and we are off on the right foot. Our goal is adding restaurants and services in the area. We can handle anything and everything that comes our way.”

Pochoogian echoed Nelsen’s enthusiasm, claiming that roads are in place and ready for more business.

The “Gateway Business Park” which is a parcel of the BRP, includes the master-planned development depicting the hotel around a public street extension with approximately 79,000 square-feet of general office space and 17,200 square-feet of retail space, on the 3.5 acre lot.

The hotel will also premier luxurious outdoor swimming pool and patio areas, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a lobby/business center with wifi access, a continental breakfast, a covered vehicular check-in area and more.

The proposal for construction, was made by Klassen Corporation out of Bakersfield, a mainstay of commercial and industrial construction in the valley for over 40 years.

Klasssen awaits a building permit.

Hilton has several properties in the area including The Marriott in Visalia and Hampton Inns in Visalia and Tulare.

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