|By Michelle Machado, The Record, Stockton, Calif.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Aug. 25, 2005 - STOCKTON -- Groundbreaking ceremonies today will mark the start of construction on a seven-story Sheraton Hotel that, when completed in December 2006, will further redefine downtown Stockton's business climate and skyline.
"It's another domino," said Steve Carrigan, Stockton's economic development director, referring to downtown redevelopment projects, such as the Hotel Stockton and Stockton Ballpark, that have recently fallen into place, increasing the area's economic vibrancy.
Carrigan said that the hotel, touted as Stockton's first full-service accommodations, will attract business travelers, conventions and trade shows in addition to leisure travelers.
The $45 million to $50 million hotel is the single privately financed component in a quartet of redevelopment projects on the north banks of the Stockton Deep Water Channel.
Dubbed the Stockton Events Center, the complex also includes the ballpark and a soon-to-be-completed arena and parking structure, all developed by Sacramento-based Regent Development Inc.
Ideally, the complex's mixed uses will complement and support one another, City Manager Mark Lewis said.
For Regent, which typically partners with public agencies, investing in the Stockton Sheraton represents a new venture.
"In some ways, this is stepping out for us," said Mike Courtney, a Regent vice president.
The 200,000 square foot, V-shaped hotel will include 178 guest rooms, a conference center, an unnamed upscale restaurant, a fitness center and a swimming pool.
Additionally, the three upper floors will house 42 one- to three-bedroom condominiums for sale, whose owners will have the option to utilize all the services available to hotel guests.
The condominiums are an important part of the mixed-use project and considered a catalyst for further condominium development within the city, Lewis said,
The hotel is also expected to bring about 500 construction jobs to the city.
Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, which has more than 400 hotels and resorts in more than70 countries, is the largest brand of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.
The public is invited to join local officials and Starwood Hotel and Regent Development executives at the groundbreaking, which is being hosted by Regent.
Lewis said he will be happy to turn up his sleeves and turn over a shovel of dirt.
"There are cities that work for decades to get a large business-class hotel," he said.
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