Anaheim’s ongoing efforts to combat crime and urban decay took a significant step forward with the demolition of the former Anaheim Lodge motel on Beach Boulevard this Tuesday. This marks the third motel demolition since 2021 and the fourth since 2002, all part of the city’s long-term strategy to revitalize Beach Boulevard into a more hospitable and pedestrian-friendly area.

The removal of the Anaheim Lodge paves the way for the development of affordable apartments and townhomes, in conjunction with the adjacent Covered Wagon site, which was acquired by Anaheim in 2022 and demolished in 2023.

Mayor Ashleigh Aitken emphasized the city’s commitment to rejuvenating the area, stating, “We tore down this motel to fulfill a promise to invest in this area and begin a fresh start for this site.” Council Member Jose Diaz, representing west Anaheim, echoed these sentiments, stating, “This motel destroyed lives, and now we have destroyed this motel. I join so many of my Beach neighbors in welcoming another big step in the rebuilding of Beach.”

The Anaheim Lodge symbolized the challenges faced along the 1.5-mile stretch of Beach running through the city. Once a thriving route to the coast, much of Beach has seen a decline in demand for lodging, leading to the proliferation of criminal activities in some motels.

While Anaheim welcomes well-run, lawful motels, those harboring criminal activity are being addressed through strict enforcement measures, including collaboration with state and regional partners. The city remains open to further acquisitions and is actively seeking private investment to facilitate the ongoing transformation of Beach Boulevard.

The acquisition of the Anaheim Lodge in December 2022 came after a year of addressing criminal activity and nuisances associated with the property. The motel, plagued by deplorable conditions, was closed, and efforts were made to relocate its longer-term tenants, involving an investment of over $550,000 by the city.

Constructed in the early 1980s, the Anaheim Lodge stood as a later addition to Beach Boulevard, housing 45 rooms across two buildings. Planning for affordable and other housing developments on the Anaheim Lodge and Covered Wagon sites is expected to progress this year, with potential development slated for 2025, subject to California’s Surplus Land Act process, which mandates government property to be allocated for affordable housing initiatives.