ANAHEIM, Calif. - Elected officials and members of the Anaheim business community broke ground on the newest hotel in Anaheim's resort district Wednesday.
The $245 million project to build the four-diamond Westin Anaheim Resort will replace the Anabella Hotel, which closed in August.
"It will be the first Westin to be built in the last 25 years in Southern California, so this is a momentous day," said Carla Murray, senior vice president of operations.
Project leads estimate the construction of the seven-story, 613-room Westin will create more than 2,000 jobs for skilled workers.
Once the hotel opens at the end of 2019 or early 2020, more permanent jobs will be generated with priority given to those who lost theirs when the Anabella closed.
About 121 employees lost their jobs, but Wincome, the operator of the Anabella, and soon the Westin, said more than 60 percent were placed at different properties.
"We're coming from a total of employment of about 160 at the Anabella and Tangerine Grill that were here and going into just about 600," said Paul Sanford, Wincome Management and Development's asset manager.
The Westin is just one piece of booming development in the city's resort district, including four other luxury hotels soon to be built and a 200,000-square-foot expansion at the Convention Center, set to open at the end of the month.
All this will be next door to Disneyland, where work continues on "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge."
"Whether it's visiting Disney, coming for meetings and conventions, or the great product that's coming from the House of Blues, to the Westin today - it's just really good for our community," said Charles Harris, the senior vice president of marketing for "Visit Anaheim," the city's destination marketing organization.
The city of Anaheim offered tax incentives for developers to attract luxury hotels like the Westin.
Under the agreement, Walt Disney Co. and Wincome Hotels will receive reimbursements of 70 percent of the transient occupancy tax every guest pays. It's a decision city Councilwoman Kris Murray said will positively impact residents in the long run.
"Hundreds of millions and in over 30 years more than $1 billion to the city's general fund revenue," Murray said. "That funds police, fire, parks, libraries, everything we rely on from a quality-of-life standpoint."