|By Dennis Darrow, The Pueblo Chieftain,
Colo.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Feb. 16, 2013--A Pueblo hotel family hopes to build the second hotel at the Pueblo Convention Center as part of the center's planned expansion.
AAA Hotels, led by members of the Amin family, was the lone developer to respond to the Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority's recent request for hotel proposals, urban renewal director John Batey said.
The Pueblo-based company in recent years has developed the North Side Hampton Inn, the SpringHill Suites across from the convention center and the Best Western Eagleridge.
The company also develops and operates hotels in other parts of Southern Colorado.
"They're familiar with the area and they're familiar with the market. . . . They've been very successful here in Pueblo and throughout Southern Colorado," Batey said.
AAA Hotels executives were not immediately available Friday for comment.
Urban renewal leaders have long known of AAA Hotels' interest in the expansion but the agency declined to release the company's name until completing a formal RFP process.
The next step will come when urban renewal executives and the company begin negotiations on a proposed development agreement, possibly by summer, Batey said.
First, the agency and the city want to subdivide the expansion site, a process that is ongoing, he said. The process will establish the specific footprint of the hotel property, he said.
Afterward, he hopes to negotiate a preliminary hotel development agreement by fall and bring the matter for a review and vote by the authority's board of commissioners by the end of the year, he said. The timetable fits with urban renewal's goal to start construction on both the convention center expansion and attached hotel in 2014, he said.
Under the convention center expansion, the city plans to build a large exhibition hall and a multiuse arena to include room for a PBR Global bull riding school.
The proposed 100-room hotel would be built attached to the new exhibit hall. The first floor of the hotel would serve as another major entryway into the convention center.
The owner of the convention center's existing hotel, which was recently sold and renamed a Courtyard by Marriott, is aware of the plans and supports the project, Batey said.
The city's desire for a second hotel follows a market study that showed more lodging would be needed to support the larger expo center, Batey said.
The convention center expansion and hotel are part of the first phase of more than $100 million in Riverwalk additions planned over the next 25 years.
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