|By Joe Florkowski, Inland Valley Daily
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Nov. 29, 2005 --RANCHO CUCAMONGA -- The opening of five hotels will more than double the number of rooms in the city near Ontario Mills in the next six months.
The first of the hotels, a 103-room Homewood Suites, opened last week, while a 93-room Holiday Inn Express and a 112-room Marriott TownPlace Suites are set to open in December. A 122-room Hilton Garden Inn and a 120-room Courtyard Marriott are planned to open in January and March, respectively.
The hotels, located on the northeast corner of Haven and Milliken avenues, are being developed in response to demand generated by such attractions as California Speedway, Ontario Convention Center and Ontario International Airport.
Because of business travelers and the convention center, it's sometimes tough to find a hotel room in the area, said Cathy Mulcrone, general manager of the Holiday Inn in Rancho Cucamonga.
"We're to the point where on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can't find hotel rooms," Mulcrone said.
The five new hotels will join an existing 115-room Best Western Heritage Inn to provide nearly 700 rooms and allow city officials to tap into the burgeoning business and convention market generated from the convention center and airport. And the hotels near Ontario Mills are not the only sites developers have planned for hotels. Builders also plan to develop two hotels near Victoria Gardens.
The hotel development comes after Rancho Cucamonga has tried for the last three years to market itself as a tourism and travel center, said Linda Daniels, economic development director for the city.
Without hotels, the city has had a more difficult time promoting the city as a tourism destination, she said.
"It hasn't allowed us to promote Rancho as a tourism destination," Daniels said.
The hotels are being built at this time because growth is moving around the convention center and airport in a concentric circle, she said.
Many of the hotels around the convention center and airport are often nearly full, Daniels said.
"There is a need for office space hotels and the demand is there," she said.
Fargo-based Tharaldson Lodging is building three of the five hotels: the Homewood Suites, the Hilton Garden Inn and the Courtyard Marriott.
Tharaldson found the location in Rancho near Ontario Mills desirable, said Dean Manternach, regional vice president for the company.
The area is close to retail and restaurants which gives the business traveler something to do during the week, Manternach said.
Other factors, such as demographics and area hotels current business, persuaded Tharaldson officials to build in Rancho, he said.
The Inland Empire's housing growth is also driving Tharaldson's development in the region, Manternach said.
The company plans to open one hotel in Corona and two in San Bernardino in 2006, he said.
"Where you have a growing housing market, you have people who come to visit on the weekends," Manternach said.
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Copyright (c) 2005, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Calif.
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