|By Dan Mckay, Albuquerque Journal,
N.M.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Sep. 9, 2008 - Downtown Albuquerque can support a new 550-room "headquarters" hotel if City Hall goes ahead with plans for an events center and other improvements, according to a consultant's report.
Los Angeles-based PKF Consulting presented a draft of its report Monday evening to the City Council's finance committee. The 88-page report examined the market demand for a Sheraton Hotel by looking at population trends, tourist attractions and local hotel data.
The study is the first of about nine reports that will be released by mid-November as part of a viability assessment commissioned by the city. Future reports will look at the proposed events center itself, parking and other topics.
The PKF report describes the local hotel market as healthy. It says the new hotel would help provide enough rooms near the Convention Center to attract bigger meetings and "groups that previously did not even consider Albuquerque a viable destination."
The report is based on several assumptions, such as the construction of a 12,000-seat events center. The analysis also depends on the Convention Center completing at least $15 million in aesthetic upgrades by 2012. The report says the center has already budgeted for the improvements.
Sheraton has expressed interest in the project, so the analysis factored in the benefits of Sheraton's national sales team and brand.
Brandon Feighner of PKF Consulting told councilors that it's likely that "convention business here will dwindle" without the hotel project.
City officials are considering the hotel and events center as part of a $400 million project to redevelop the Downtown area.
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