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Friday, Jul 12, 2024

Mian Dynasty Expanding in Ventura County

Across from Camarillo Premium Outlets, tractors work away on a busy construction site. Overseeing the project, in a snazzy blue blazer and cowboy boots, stands Tahir Mian. “I’m like a little kid at heart,” said the Texas-based developer, who also goes by “T.M.” Mian. “I look at the construction site and it excites me.” Construction began last August on the upcoming Mian Plaza and Conference Center of Camarillo. The Spanish colonial revival-style project near the 101 on-ramp will feature hotels, restaurants and meeting spaces by 2022. The project came about, Mian said, because the city of Camarillo wanted it. “There is more demand in Camarillo for a conference center,” he said. Mian Development Corp., the Dallas real estate firm which Mian originally started to build multifamily properties, is spearheading the ambitious project on parcels purchased by the city of Camarillo a decade ago. Camarillo has long discussed the possibility of building such a complex, hoping to capitalize on local demand for meeting space and overflow business traffic from the western San Fernando Valley and Ventura County as well as usage by California State University – Channel Islands for academic conferences and scholastic events. “The city has wanted a conference center for some time, because the Camarillo market has always been heavy on business travel, with so many technology and biomedical companies headquartered along the 101 freeway corridor,” Bruce Baltin, senior vice president in the L.A. office of hospitality consultancy PKF Consulting, told the Business Journal in 2015. Among the Mian Plaza’s components: a 122-room Home2 Suites by Hilton and a four-story, 155-room Embassy Suites with swimming pool, restaurant and 17,500 square-foot, 750-seat conference center, and more than 650 parking spaces Per the developer’s agreement with the city of Camarillo, Mian first had to create a water channel — price tag: $6 million — which Mian called “a beast” to install underground. Then, he imported 30,000 cubic yards of soil for the project. He said utilities will soon be re-organized underground. “They are moving fast,” Mian said of the latter. “I can’t believe (the progress).” Mian said his one-two punch of placing two tiers of hotel brands opposite each other is not without precedent in the region. Mian Development erected the Hilton Garden Inn and the Homewood Suites by Hilton opposite each other in neighboring Oxnard. When one hotel has overage, the other fills the void. “Both complement each other,” Mian said. “That’s the reason we’re doing the same thing in Camarillo.” Regional strategy A resident of Camarillo’s Spanish Hills with partner of seven years Alisa Rector, Mian operates from his eighth-floor offices at his 170-room Hilton Garden Inn Oxnard at 1975 Solar Drive in Oxnard. From his mahogany desk and a nearby conference table buried in blueprints of Mian Plaza, he shared his enthusiasm for the project. The Home2 Suites will sit on the south side of the property facing the direction of Los Angeles; the restaurants will rise behind it and face the Outlets mall across the street; and the Embassy Suites will take the north end of the property, facing toward Ventura. One of the restaurants, Mian said, will be a Brazilian eatery in the vein of a Fogo de Chão. When all is completed in Camarillo, Mian said, he will have hired an additional 250 people, bringing his total regional workforce to 500. The two hotels at Mian Plaza and Conference Center of Camarillo will join a growing string of Mian hotels in the region, including The Commons at Calabasas-adjacent Hilton Garden Inn Calabasas at 24510 Park Sorrento; and a pending four-story Hilton project across from the Ventura County Fairgrounds in Ventura, a nascent project that is a few years away from breaking ground. On Jan. 27, Hilton Garden Inn Calabasas became the site of a National Transportation Safety Board press conference on the Sikorsky S-76 private helicopter crash that took the lives of nine people, including former Lakers player Kobe Bryant. His hotel housed 35 NTSB personnel, Mian said. In Calabasas, Mian continued, his Hilton Garden Inn has become a central hub. During the Woolsey fire, Mian put up a slew of first responders for free and, in fact, Mian and Rector were stuck at the hotel after the wildfire struck. “We couldn’t get out to go to Camarillo,” Mian recalled. Mian is currently expanding his Calabasas Hilton by 51 rooms. Close to home Of Pakistani origin, Mian hails from Texas, where he attended Texas State University and Wayland Baptist University. Mian first came across the Hilton brand in the most hands-on way possible. Early on in his college career, while at Texas State Technical College in Amarillo, he worked as a maintenance person at a Hilton in town. Then one day, “I came back and bought the place,” he said. It became a satisfying acquisition in a career made up of many such purchases. “I said, ‘I was a student, now I’m a teacher,’” he said, laughing. Mian has buttered his bread in Texas, where his firm owns the Sterling Hotel in Dallas. The firm previously owned multifamily and office plazas in places such as Arlington, Irving and Fort Worth, Texas. When Mian first arrived in Ventura County over two decades ago, he was struck by how brilliant the oceanfront real estate was. “I knew I could not go wrong on that,” he said. Mian immediately identified a need to add product to the area. Today, while Mian maintains a house in Dallas, Camarillo is where his heart is. But given his ample experience between developing in Texas and California, Mian said California’s business climate is by far much more difficult to navigate than in the Lone Star State, where deals may hinge on handshake deals. “In Texas, there’s a good old boys’ kind of approach,” he said. Mian said he is currently eyeing Ventura, where he wants to build a four-story, 160-key Hilton on land he acquired from the Ventura County Fairgrounds. The hands-on developer abides by a rule. “If I can’t get to the site in 30 minutes, I’m not interested,” Mian said. “If the acquisition is not right, you are always going to suffer.” One of his dreams is to develop affordable housing in Oxnard that will provide inexpensive apartments for his employees on a loyalty platform, in which workers can purchase their condos after 30 years of service with the company.

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