|By Steven Oberbeck, The Salt Lake
TribuneMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 23, 2008 - After more than a year of delays, construction is under way on a $15 million hotel complex across the street from the E Center in West Valley City.
The project's developer, Utah Hospitality LLC, expects construction on the venture that includes a 94-room Holiday Inn Express and a 97-unit Staybridge Suites hotel to be completed in early 2009.
"We're excited," said Jeff Stockert, president of Utah Hospitality. "The Salt Lake City area is a very family-oriented market, and we think this project will be really well received."
Staybridge Suites have larger rooms than a Holiday Inn Express and are designed for guests expecting to stay five to 14 days.
The two hotel properties being built just north of the E Center, on Decker Lake Drive, will be linked by an 8,000-square-foot waterpark featuring a 165-foot-tall water slide, Stockert said.
"Waterparks have become increasingly popular in the hospitality business over the past five years, and to our knowledge this will be the first indoor park on a hotel property in Utah," he said.
Only guests of the two hotels will have access to the water park, Stockert said, "but we're expecting that families in the area who are looking for something a little different to do will chose us as a destination."
Utah Hospitality has been involved in construction and owning hotel properties in the state for years. It owns the 311-room Royal Garden Inn near downtown Salt Lake City and the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites at the Salt Lake International Center, and it will own the two new properties.
Joe Moore, director of community and economic development for West Valley City, said the Utah Hospitality venture near the E Center was a "tough project to get to the point where construction could begin."
City officials had to step in and help resolve right-of-way issues with the Utah Department of Transportation and negotiate with Rocky Mountain Power, which operates a substation and owns a power line corridor nearby.
"It was hard to make the project fit the site," Moore said, adding that Stockert was patient with West Valley City as it worked through the issues. It "will be more than worth the effort."
Although there already are several hotels adjacent to the E Center, including the Crystal Inn and Extended Stay America, "occupancy rates are real healthy in all those properties, which is probably why Utah Hospitality is so eager to get their project built."
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