|By Donna Hogan, The Tribune, Mesa, Ariz.|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
June 24, 2004 - While owners of Marriott Mountain Shadows Resort plan to close the hotel portion of the 70-acre property when the contract with Marriott International expires Sept. 3, it likely will reopen as a resort in the future, Paradise Valley officials said Wednesday.
Property owner Host Marriott is not as sure of the property's fate.
"We will be meeting with neighbors and hope to have a proposal to the town within 90 days," said Scottsdale attorney Paul Gilbert, who is representing Host Marriott in the matter. "It could be a resort, it could be all single-family residential housing, it could be a combo reduced resort with housing, or it could be a townhouse or condo project. We're looking at many options." Host Marriott will keep the golf course and clubhouse -- and possibly one swimming pool -- open after the hotel closes, Gilbert said.
"That was very important to the town," Paradise Valley vice mayor Ed Winkler said.
Winkler said that after discussions a week ago between Host Marriott and the Town Council and staff, he expects to see a proposal that will keep the rest of the property as a hotel.
"We had a very positive discussion," he said. "We were very specific that the town believes the highest and best use for that property is as a resort. I am relatively confident it will remain a resort." Winkler said the recent redo of John Gardiner's Tennis Ranch into the Sanctuary Resort and plans for a $30 million makeover of the aging Doubletree La Posada into an elegant inn prove a hotel is the logical choice.
"That tells us there is a market for high-end boutique resorts in Paradise Valley," he said.
Town manager Tom Martinsen echoed Winkler's confidence that it will remain a hotel, not homes.
"The town's position is that we very much expect to see a resort on that property," Martinsen said. Host Marriott initially floated the concept of razing the resort and building residences, he said. Residents also were aghast at the thought of losing the hotel to homes.
"The town is taking residents' concerns very seriously," Martinsen said. "We're optimistic we will find a plan that the owners, homeowners associations and the town will be happy with."
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