|By Art Martori, The Tribune, Mesa,
Ariz.McClatchy-Tribune Business News
Nov. 7, 2006 - Value Place could be the biggest hotel in Apache Junction -- if it overcomes a series of issues raised by the city.
The city's planning and zoning department last month voted 4-2 to recommend that the City Council deny a request by Kansas-based Value Place hotels to rezone a parcel of land for its new facility.
Mike Heuchert, a city planner working on the case, said the proposed hotel's overall appearance conflicted with the city's design guidelines -- including its 40-foot height and a 35-foot animated sign.
"They haven't done much with Southwestern architecture," Heuchert said.
City Council members were skeptical at a Monday night study session, saying the proposed design would not be visually appealing.
"It doesn't offer anything to anybody that has money to spend in our community," said Councilman Joseph Severs.
Donald Rich, of BHG Development Co., said Value Place has run successful hotels across the country because of their affordability.
"We go for working people at a reasonable price," he said. "These people don't want to pay for a pool and a spa. They want a nice, safe, clean hotel.
"That's the market we're going for."
The rezoning of nearly 2 acres near the Tomahawk Road exit off U.S. 60 would allow construction of a four-story, 121-unit hotel. A final decision is scheduled Dec. 5.
Heuchert said Value Place has expressed a willingness to improve the exterior design and tone down the sign's animation, but the height of both the hotel and sign remain unresolved issues.
Value Place operates 25 hotels in 13 states and has 75 more locations planned to open across the country.
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