|By Kyle Arnold, The Monitor, McAllen,
TexasMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 26, 2007 - MCALLEN -- The city will finally get the upscale hotel originally intended for the lavish McAllen Convention Center site.
A 154-room Embassy Suites hotel is waiting final approval by city officials.
The building is planned as slightly smaller than the adjacent La Quinta Inn selected in April, but will include the restaurant and room service absent from previous proposals.
It could also be the newest of at least six hotels planned for the intersection.
Completed in March, the $62.2 million convention center is expected to host thousands of visitors to the Rio Grande Valley each year for conferences, meetings and shopping.
The site also includes a 600,000-square-foot shopping center which is supposed to be finished in November.
The Embassy Suites hotel should be finished in fall 2009. It will cost about $16 million.
A local investment group headed by developer Larry Fallek will purchase the 4.58 acres for about $2.6 million from the city with approval from the City Commission.
"The convention center is a beautiful site and deserves a beautiful hotel," said Fallek, president of Venture Assets, and developer of several local hotels and restaurants, including Tony Roma's in McAllen.
"It has always been our intention to get a hotel there."
The hotel will mirror the Embassy Suites built by the same group in Laredo.
In addition to Embassy Suites and La Quinta, Hilton and Marriott hotels are building smaller hotels across Expressway 83.
Venture Assets has been bullish on properties near the convention center.
The company recently finished the Academy Sports and Outdoors directly southwest of the development. That development includes to hotels under construction, the Homewood Suites by Hilton and a Marriott Springwood Suites, both of which will have about 100 rooms.
Fallek and other investors are also developing Romano's Macaroni Grill at the Palms Crossing shopping center and a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store nearby.
The city has two more spaces west of the Convention Center intended for hotels, said deputy city manager Brent Branham.
And there may be more space nearby in previously vacant land now in the process of being developed.
The city will sell the two vacant sites as demand grows with more conferences, he said. Plans also include a performing arts center and a veteran's war memorial.
Kyle Arnold covers business, the economy and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach him at (956) 683-4410. For this and more on local stories, visit www.themonitor.com.
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Copyright (c) 2007, The Monitor, McAllen, Texas
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