Council members said they hoped the project would energize Orange Street, which has few commercial uses despite its proximity to Brand Boulevard.
“This is a street that needs help from a commercial standpoint, and I think this particular use is perfect,” said Councilman Frank Quintero.
Council members also said the banquet hall was well suited for the downtown commercial district as opposed to residential areas, where they have sometimes created parking and noise disputes with nearby property owners.
“I think we’ve always liked to have banquet halls downtown, and this fits the bill of the location,” said Councilman Dave Weaver.
The City Council also approved an 82-space parking exception on the condition that the operators maintain a current lease with a private parking lot across the street and create a safe valet parking plan with city traffic administrators.
“I don’t think we want the chaos of them trying to take the shortest route,” said Mayor Laura Friedman.
With development of the banquet hall in the works for more than a year, project officials said they were excited to move closer to reality.
“We are simply excited and delighted to be a part of and contribute to the renaissance for our wonderful city’s downtown area,” said Khatchik Timourian, general managing partner for the project.
The owner of Billy’s Deli has also been eager to see the project move forward, said his assistant, Evelio Romero.
“It’s good to hear they got approved today,” Romero said. “We’re excited about it bringing maybe new business.”