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New 142-room hotel eyed for North Auburn's Bowman area

Hill Top Center plan also includes high-end restaurant, shops
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A 142-room Marriott inn is being proposed for a prominent knoll-top property off Bowman Road skirting Interstate 80. Called Hill Top Center, the proposal is in the early stages of the county approval process. Hilltop LLC managing member Hoss Bozorgzad said Wednesday that he feels the building and landscaping design will help the center blend in to the area around it. The 7.5-acre parcel is currently undeveloped. Bozorgzad, a homeowner in rural Auburn for a decade and owner of Windermere Placer County Properties in the city, bought the land in 2005. Hilltop LLC is working with Marriott Hotels and RIM Hospitality of Modesto, which opened the Auburn Holiday Inn in the mid-1990s, on a plan that Bozorgzad said takes advantage of the Sierra views to the east while attempting to minimize parking-lot views of the development from the freeway. The Hill Top Center proposal’s initial project application with the county Planning Department seeks a conditional-use permit, approval of a design review and a minor use permit. Near the corner of Bowman Road and Mill Pond Road, the development would have a single access off Bowman Road, with an emergency vehicle access road to the east that would be gated. The main, 127-room hotel would occupy about 76,000 square feet and have underground parking for about 50 vehicles. The smaller, mixed-use building would house a 6,000-square-foot restaurant and about 6,600 square feet of retail space. There would be 15 long-term Marriott luxury suites on the top floor and underground parking for those suites below the main floor. Hilltop LLC held a meeting earlier this month with nearby residents and Bozorgzad said he’s working with the closest residents. The property, already zoned and incorporated into the general plan for hotel-type uses, was eyed as an affordable housing site 11 years ago. That proposal was turned down by the Board of Supervisors after nearby residents aired concerns about school over-population and traffic safety. Rex Addison, whose property adjoins the Hill Top Center land, said that Bozorgzad has acted like a good neighbor but he sees issues involving the size of the project, visual impact and the presence of a bar in the restaurant as potential problem areas to be addressed. Addison added that with his property being so close to the project, he’s concerned about a wall that may be built that could block his view and the impact of night lighting on the neighborhood. The Hill Top proposal is not related to a three-story, 104-room Hampton Inn Project off Interstate 80 and Russell Road that is currently being appealed to the Auburn City Council. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com.