|By Monika Tjia, The Tribune, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Sep. 22, 2005 - The city of Paso Robles has approved plans for 11 resort and hotel projects, including expansions, but several are years away from completion.
A 42-room expansion of an existing hotel is complete, two hotels have started construction and two others will begin this fall.
If all projects approved were completed, the number of hotel rooms in the city would jump from about 800 to more than 1,600.
More hotels in Paso Robles will meet the city's goal of becoming a destination, officials said. The added business means an economic boost for the entire city as well.
"Having visitors provides support not only for the hotels, but for restaurants and for shopping here in the community," said Bob Lata, Paso's community development director. "Visitors have a good economic impact on the community and do so without putting a demand for schools and long-term services."
An increase in hotels also means new jobs for Paso Robles residents, Lata noted.
But with the timeline on some projects uncertain, city officials are being conservative in projecting how many more rooms the city will have in the next several years. Officials expect an extra 95 rooms in 2006 and 130 more rooms in 2007.
Lodging, which includes hotel rooms and recreational vehicle parks, provided more than $1.4 million through transient occupancy taxes in 2004-05. That's an increase of 12 percent over the previous year and about 8 percent of Paso Robles' general fund budget.
"We still project an annual escalation in transient occupancy taxes revenues," said Mike Compton, administrative services director. "But after 2007, we haven't added new rooms to our projections."
The Adelaide Inn is the only project that has been completed. The Ysabel Avenue property added 42 rooms this summer, making it a 109-room hotel.
La Quinta Inn, a 101-room hotel on the northeast corner of Buena Vista Drive and Highway 46 East, is currently under construction. La Bellasera, a 61-room hotel on the southwest interchange between Highway 46 West and Highway 101, is also being constructed.
Both projects are expected to be done within the next 18 months.
Holiday Inn Express on Riverside Avenue will add 32 rooms. Construction is slated to begin in October and is expected to finish in the spring.
A 130-room Marriott Courtyard will be built starting this fall, located south of First Street and east of South Vine Street.
Having these additions in Paso Robles will help fill a need and help local businesses, said Chris Taranto, director of tourism for the Paso Robles Visitors and Conference Bureau.
For Matt Masia, owner of Adelaide Inn, the rush of hotels being built and approved by the city has made him delay plans for his proposed 80-room hotel near Black Oak Drive.
"I'm not sure there's a need for all the hotels being approved and being built right now," Masia said. "I'm watching where that's going."
Masia said that he will build his 80-room hotel after he researches what niche needs to be filled.
In the meantime, Masia is trying to find a partner to build Black Ranch, a resort that would include 280 hotel rooms, a cottage and a golf course.
Beatrice and Didier Cop are also waiting before they build the French Village Resort, a proposed 80-room resort hotel and spa.
"The challenge is filling it during the week," Didier Cop said of having a resort. "We're still trying to make the numbers work."
More hotels may still be approved. The Planning Commission will decide next week on the Inns at Vintner's Village, a 138-room hotel on the northwest corner of Highway 46 West and Highway 101.
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