|By Rob O'Dell, The Arizona Daily Star,
TucsonMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Nov. 7, 2007 - Three plans for a new Downtown convention center hotel are better than one, a city selection committee has decided.
The five-member hotel committee tasked with picking a developer to build a 700-room convention center hotel has combined elements from three of four proposals developers submitted to the city.
The big winner was Texas-based developer Garfield Traub, which was selected to built a 707-room $203 million Sheraton hotel on city land. It would house a 14,000-square-foot ballroom and a full service restaurant, bar and lounge. It would also include retail space and, potentially, condominiums. Garfield Traub was the only developer whose plans were selected in its entirety.
A partial winner was Tucson's Hotel Arizona owner Humberto S. Lopez and his partner Roger Karber, who will get about $28 million for their 3.3 acres which includes the Hotel Arizona structure. The 250-room Hotel Arizona is slated to be redeveloped into a Hilton at this time, said Jaret Barr, the city's project manager for the hotel.
Under the committee's selection, only the the renovation of the 250-room Hotel Arizona would occur with plans for a new 28-story tower 450-room to expand the hotel put on hold until the market would be right to develop the hotel. There is a possibility that the second phase would never be built, Barr said, although the second phase would be approved and entitled so it could be built once market conditions called for it.
The other proposal that was selected was that of landowner Allan Norville and Chris Ansley the developer of the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa.
Barr said the committee did not select Norville's hotel proposal, but instead will buy Norville's 7-acre property at Granada Avenue and Cushing Street for $17 million. City officials have been hounding Norville to sell his land for years and his has rebuffed them, creating animosity with him and City Hall.
The only development team left out of the selections was headed by Texas-based Faulkner USA, Southwest Value Partners and General Growth Properties Inc., which had planned to build a Hyatt hotel.
Read more in tomorrow's Arizona Daily Star
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