Ghadimian’s Proposal To Convert 400 Motor Inn In Needles Into A Veteran Apartment Complex Rejected

The Needles Planning Commission on July 7 put the kibosh on Armen Ghadimian’s proposal to convert the long-dormant Imperial 400 Motor Inn on Broadway Street into an apartment complex.
Ghadimian, who represents for NAAR Capital, LLC, acquired the property, which has been vacant for over a decade after a fire gutted five of its units, and the entire building was red-tagged. Ultimately, Ghadimian’s intent was to refurbish all 32 units and augment each with a kitchenette and a single bedroom. Those units would entail approximately 240-to-280 square feet each, he said. Ideally, they would be living quarters for veterans, either living alone or with a single partner, similar to another project Ghadimian has completed in Needles, the reclamation of the Sage hotel.
The 10,288-square-foot Imperial 400 Motor Inn is located at 644 West Broadway Street.
The major renovations to the motel would have been the construction of the kitchenettes, the replumbing for all of the bathrooms and the major reconstruction of the units destroyed by fire. In addition, the apartment complex was to have two laundry rooms, an office and reception area.Ghadimian, who has purchased a number of properties in Needles had a difficult time selling the project to the planning commission for more than one reason.
The property lies within the city’s commercial district, and some of the commission members were concerned that the residents the project will attract will ward off customers there. Ghadimian acknowledged upfront that what he was proposing was “Section 8 housing” that was veteran specific, which would be occupied by those obtaining “housing vouchers.”
And while city staff are enthusiastic about creating housing opportunities to meet mandates from the state to address residential needs, the members of the planning commission were skeptical about putting down-and-out veterans into quarters that close to where people will be shopping or tourists will be getting a first or second or third impression of Needles. With every mention of “vouchers” and Section 8,” members of the commision would cringe.
Another issue that tripped Ghadimian up was his inability to pull the final trigger on the Sage Motel project. While he has made admirable progress in the renovations and improvements there, the federal government – the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, backed away from funding it as an assisted living facility. It later committed to supporting the effort through its veteran housing voucher division, but has cited numerous reasons for withholding those. As a result, the motel, located at 1624 West Broadway Street, remains vacant.
Meanwhile, Ghadimian is chomping at the bit to begin renovating the delapidated and boarded up the 400 Motor Inn, which lies immediately south of the Baker Emergency Services station and slightly east of Cub’s liquor store, just north of the EconoLodge.
Patrick Martinez, assistant city manager/director of development services indicated that the existing parking units at the motel would be more than adequate for the vehicles of residents.
The commission was skeptical of that assumption. Commissioner Linda Kidd said she believed residents would be likely to own more than a single car.
Nearby business owners were less than receptive, as well. The DeAtley Brothers – David and Derek, who own Deco Food Service, which is directly across the street from the motel – did not want what Ghadimian was proposing.
Though two of the commission’s members, Kevin Ostby and Bob Rath, expressed enthusiasm for Ghadamian’s willingness to at last make something of the property, commissioners Michael Wright, Barbara Beard, Scott Dressler, Will Bosboom, and Linda Kidd rejected his plan.

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