Garden Grove Officials Traveling to China in Effort to Boost Tourism Development

Garden Grove officials will visit Shanghai, China next year as part of a business delegation to meet with a multinational construction and real estate firm with plans for more than $850 million in development in Garden Grove.

At their regular meeting Tuesday evening, City Council members voted 3-1-0, with Mayor Bao Nguyen voting no and Councilman Chris Phan abstaining, to approve $13,000 for a 5-to 6-member city delegation to travel to Shanghai between December 2016 and June 2017.

Nguyen and Phan didn’t explain their votes at the meeting and didn’t immediately respond to calls after the meeting.

The trip will be paid for with money from the Garden Grove Tourism Improvement District, which is privately funded through assessments to the businesses within the district.

The district agreed to pay for the trip because of the potential benefits to the Grove Resort, according to City Manager Scott Stiles.

The trip would include discussions of several ongoing development projects and establishing an Orange County headquarters for the company, Shanghai Construction Group (SCG) America, in Garden Grove.

In November 2015, SCG America purchased the Hyatt Regency Orange County in Garden Grove and has plans to spend $500 million to expand the hotel, according to a staff report.

SCG America is also involved in a joint venture with San Diego-based Land & Design Inc. to develop a hotel, restaurant and entertainment complex on a property originally acquired by the city’s redevelopment agency.

If built, the project would cost an estimated $350 million and consist of a 400-room hotel, 10,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space, and at least 10,000 square feet of meeting space, according to the city website. The property could later add two more hotels with 125 to 200 rooms each.

The development is part of a surge of hotel and residential development by Chinese real estate and construction companies in the U.S. In neighboring Anaheim, the Hong Kong-based developer Wincome Group has plans for two four diamond hotels; and another Hong Kong developer, LT Global Development, has plans for a $450 million mixed-use mega-development in the Platinum Triangle.

Stiles said the Garden Grove delegation would likely include three city council members and two or three members of the city staff.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.