|By Levi J. Long, The Arizona Daily Star,
TucsonMcClatchy-Tribune Business News
Feb. 27, 2007 - A luxury hotel-condo project in Oro Valley could bring more options for leisure and business travelers frequenting the bustling Northwest burg.
The Vistoso Resort and Spa, 500 W. Vistoso Highlands Drive, will feature 220 condo units and 440 hotel rooms and is scheduled to break ground in September, said developer David Williamson, president and CEO of Tucson-based Fairfield Homes Inc.
Located near the 18-hole Golf Club at Vistoso, the hotel-condo complex is slated to open in September 2008.
Aimbridge Hospitality, a Texas firm that manages several hotel brands, wants to develop the Vistoso Resort and Spa as a Four Star and Four Diamond luxury property, Williamson said.
A hotel operator that would lend its brand for the project has not been selected, but project managers are now speaking with possible operators for the project, he said.
"That area is one of the better areas in the region and is one of the few golf course properties available in Tucson," Williamson said. "It lends itself to a nice high-end hotel. The market is definitely there."
The Vistoso Resort is part of a small wave of new hotels scheduled to open in Oro Valley, said David Welsh, the town's economic development administrator.
Other planned hotel projects include the 100-room Wingate Inn at Steam Pump Village and the 100-room Spring Hill Suites at the Mercado del Rio center, both marketed toward business travelers.
The town is also looking at annexing land south of Oro Valley, including a parcel where the Omni Tucson National Golf Resort & Spa, 2727 W. Club Drive, is located.
Currently, the only hotel options in Oro Valley are the 428-room Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort, 10000 N. Oracle Road, and the Holiday Inn Express, 10150 N. Oracle Road.
"It's exciting. We're going from two hotels to possibly six," Welsh said. "There's plenty going on, and we could use the capacity."
While the Vistoso Resort and Spa would operate as a full service 440-room hotel, the property will offer 220 condo units for sale.
Each unit features a "lockout bedroom," which has a different entrance and can be used as a separate guest suite.
"It's for people who want a lifestyle of living in a four-star hotel with room service and having a concierge," Williamson said. "And if you don't want to be there, you can get rental income from it. That's the main attraction for people who are looking for an investment but stay a few months a year."
Pre-sales at Vistoso should begin in 90 days, with the prices for condos expected to start at around $400,000, said Bryan Welch, the Vistoso's designated broker.
Potential owners can buy the condo and, when its not occupied, can enroll it in a rental program, Welch said.
The sales and rental program is similar to Williamson's other hotel-condo project, the Wyndham Canoa Ranch Resort, in Green Valley at 5775 S. Camino del Sol.
Canoa Ranch has 288 two-bedroom condo units that range from 1,500 to 1,700 square feet and start at $400,000.
The $100 million Canoa Ranch Resort, which opened in January, has sold all of the condos planned for phases 1 and 2, Welch said. About 20 units are left in phase 3 of the four-phase project, he said.
Room rentals at the Wyndham have also been fully booked, he said.
"It's the high season. All of your buyers and visitors are in town now," Welch said.
The Vistoso Resort and Spa will feature 1,100-square-foot, two-bedroom condos, furnished and professionally decorated.
They will include plasma screen televisions in the living room, master bedroom and second bedroom.
A 10,000-square-foot spa is planned for the property along with 30,000 square feet of banquet space and a rooftop bar with a view of the Catalina Mountains.
--Contact reporter Levi J. Long at 573-4179 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson
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