Published in the February 13 – 26 2019 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Illustration of what the Granada Hotel might look like when built.

It looks like the long-awaited construction of the Granada Hotel will begin April 1. Owner Frank Leal has completed all the off-site utility work and connections for the project, according to Morgan Hill Assistant City Manager Leslie Little.

The project was approved in 2015 after Leal purchased the former site of the Downtown Mall. It was originally estimated to cost about $13 million.

The four-story complex at the corner of Monterey Road and First Street will include as many as 60 rooms. Little said the project is a “huge deal” and might be the largest market enhancement to Morgan Hill.

“Not only will lodging support entertainment, shopping and restaurants, but the development will help anchor hospitality in the downtown, add opportunities for tourism and special events programming, and bring ground floor uses, such as the market hall that will add to the mix of uses the community already has,” she said.

The hotel project is adjacent to the Granada Theater, also owned and developed by Leal.

We’re looking forward to watching the construction from Morgan Hill Life’s downtown office directly across the street from the project.

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Looking for a cash windfall prior to tax season? Look no further than the County of Santa Clara Department of Tax Collections, which published a list of about 4,900 taxpayers who are potential owners of more than $3.5 million in unclaimed property tax money on deposit with the county. Potential owners qualifying for refunds must file their claims by Feb. 28. The list of names and claim forms can be obtained on the DTAC web site at

As the County of Santa Clara’s central collection agency, DTAC issues more than 500,000 property tax bills and collects more than $6 billion on an annual basis. The unclaimed property tax monies come from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, reduced assessments (re-evaluation of assessed values), overpayments, and duplicate payments.

“We make every effort to refund the rightful owners of the unclaimed property tax money,” said Margaret Olaiya, director of the Department of Tax and Collections. “We encourage taxpayers to file a claim if they believe that they may be due a refund based on their published names.”

Anyone with questions should contact DTAC’s Fiscal Services Division at (408) 808-7949 or

I checked. My name’s not on the list. How about yours?

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Toni Julian

Congratulations to local author Toni Julian who recently released her second book, “Smart, Fit & Female.”

Julian is the CEO of Toni Julian International, a healthy lifestyle company.

“Women are pulled in so many different directions,” she said. “It’s hard for most to balance their lives and make a healthy lifestyle a high priority. I wanted to cut to the chase, and help them find the fastest, most effective and impactful ways to achieve vitality and stay as healthy as they can be, so they can live their life to the fullest. My passion is helping them be healthy and happy.”

Good luck with the new book, Toni!

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It’s official! The Amgen Tour of California has released the route that will take professional bicyclists through Morgan Hill May 14.

Some of the most decorated male cyclists in the world will tackle the seven-day, 773-mile course featuring more than 68,000 feet of elevation gain.

The leg will start in Stockton and after a short circuit through town, the route will wend its way through the city as it heads southwest toward Morgan Hill. Heading east of Livermore, the riders will climb up Mt. Hamilton. During the next 22 miles of climbing and descending, the racers will encounter two climbs with a total of 25 switchbacks and two very technical descents with another 25 hairpin turns. Local racers claim that descending Mt. Hamilton can be more challenging than the ascent. The race will then return to the eastern slopes of San Jose and into Morgan Hill, site of the 2018 time trial stage. Spectators will line the streets as they await the teams for a classic field sprint to finish near the Morgan Hill Outdoor Sports Center.

Looking forward to seeing the riders again this year.

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Dr. Ramon Zavala

Congratulations to MHUSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Dr. Ramon Zavala, who was awarded the 2019 Administrator of the Year by the California Association of Bilingual Education. He’s going out with a bang, as Zavala will retire at the end of the school year.

He will be honored at the annual CABE Award Luncheon March 21in Long Beach. Enjoy retirement, Ramon.

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi is the editor of Morgan Hill Life newspaper. If you have a story idea or an Around Town column item you want to tell him about, you can reach him at (408) 427-5865 or at
Robert Airoldi