|By Kimberly Pierceall, The
Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Business News
Dec. 7, 2006 - Nearly two years spent negotiating for a high-end hotel to sit atop the city of La Quinta's SilverRock golf course is over, and the city is that much closer to the four-star resort it's been seeking.
La Quinta's redevelopment agency agreed Tuesday to sell about 60 acres of its 525-acre golf course to hotel developer Lowe Destination Development for about $10.5 million to build two hotels with 600 rooms and 80,000 square feet of lake front restaurants and shopping.
"We think we have the best remaining developable resort parcel in the Coachella Valley, so we have to treat it as such," said Tom Devlin, Lowe's vice president of development for SilverRock.
Because the company doesn't want to flood the area with 600 rooms at once, the first phase will focus on a smaller boutique hotel that will likely include condominiums. Lowe would finish the larger resort hotel and retail space on 10 acres in the second phase.
Devlin doesn't expect construction to start until the first quarter of 2008, since final architectural designs are necessary.
"I've been pushing for this. We've been procrastinating. We've been dissecting this thing. Every time we come up with something, the attorneys get involved. It just kept dragging," Mayor Don Adolph said.
When the city's redevelopment agency bought 525 acres at the foot of the Santa Rosa Mountains in 2002 for $42.5 million, all involved felt they needed more than a golf course to make it a worthwhile purchase.
"We needed to bring in affordable golf to our community. We needed a hotel to pay for this affordable golf," he said.
Instead of having the developer build on city-owned land, La Quinta agreed to sell some of the land outright. It is still negotiating with Lowe for a remaining parcel that it may either sell or lease as a site for the larger hotel and some retail space.
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