|By Donna Hogan, The Tribune, Mesa,
Ariz.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Apr. 24, 2008 --Starwood Capital Group's eco-friendly 1 Hotel, planned for a 4-acre site at Via Soleri and Marshall Way in Scottsdale and first announced in 2006, is finally gaining momentum.
Starwood Development has submitted a preliminary application for the boutique brand to the city. Originally slated to debut in early 2009, now the project is just aiming to break ground then, said Bret Sassenberg, Starwood Development's director of development.
The hotel, which will be built to standards of the LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Green Building Rating System, and monitored by the Natural Resources Defense Council, should open about two years after groundbreaking.
The nationwide financial crunch caused the two-year delay in the original plans, he said. "Now the banks are back lending again," Sassenberg said. While they waited for financing, developers worked with downtown Scottsdale neighbors and city staff to address any concerns, he said.
The 1 brand was launched in October 2006, by hotel mogul Barry Sternlicht, who also said at the time that Scottsdale would get one of the first five versions. Four more hotels are in some stage of planning or development now in New York, Seattle, Mammoth Mountain, Calif., and Washington, D.C.
Sternlicht is chairman and CEO of privately owned Starwood Capital Group, not to be confused with publicly traded Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the company he grew from an advantageous financial structure and a handful of hotels into the largest hotel company in the world.
Sternlicht passed on the day-to-day leadership of Starwood Hotels & Resorts three years ago to concentrate on his own company's developments. Among them, is the Scottsdale Waterfront, now a bustling, burgeoning, live-work-play complex in downtown Scottsdale and an obvious choice for his new hotel brand.
As chairman of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Sternlicht created the W, the first of the urban, minimalist brands. Arizona's first W is under construction and scheduled to open next month less than a mile from the 1 site. Sternlicht, who said he was involved in the site selection and design of the Scottsdale W, said his new hotel brand will be "a different product, a different experience," and a luxury level above the four-star W.
The 1 won't compete directly with the W, he said, since it will be pricier and more luxurious, attracting "independent, sophisticated travelers who care about the environment and will pay a premium for a product that is good ecologically."
The Scottsdale 1 is slated to have about 200 rooms and suites, two signature restaurants, a bar, spa, tea garden, library, fitness center and rooftop garden. Most importantly, it will be built and operated according to green principles, Sternlicht said.
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