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March 09--After almost two years of anticipation, La Quinta Inn and Suites will no longer be coming to Lodi.

According to Yogesh Patel, owner of Lodi Vineyards Hospitality, the company that had planned to bring La Quinta to town, the hotel's estimated price tag jumped from $6 million to $8 million due to soaring construction costs and the group couldn't afford to move forward with the project.

"It's disappointing for the city," Lodi City Planner Craig Hoffman said. "I think this is a hotel that we really need. It's a known name. La Quinta is a brand. It does reach out to customers, and there are people that do stay at specifically La Quinta branded hotels. We just want to keep working with Yogi and make sure he's able to still do something on the site. Maybe it's not La Quinta but maybe he's going to get a different brand name to come to town."

Patel said he is trying to work with other franchises and other brands to see what they can do, but for now they will no longer pursue the La Quinta project.

"He's still committed to bringing a hotel. It's just there has been some changes," Hoffman said.

The Lodi City Council approved refunding Patel $25,110 in permit fees during Wednesday's meeting and several council members were disappointed to hear the news.

"It's kind of sad news, but there is not a lot we can do about it, so it is what it is. Hopefully we'll find another company that will build another hotel in Lodi," Councilman Doug Kuehne said.

Kuehne was really looking forward to La Quinta coming to Lodi and the boost it would have provided to the city's economy.

"We don't have enough inventory as it is for hotels currently, so anything we can do to make sure we're going to have enough hotel space in the future is really important to the city," Kuehne said.

Councilman Bob Johnson had similar thoughts.

"I think we're always looking for an opportunity for more hotel space," Johnson said, noting that Deputy City Manager Andrew Keys had informed the council during Wednesday's meeting that tourism income was up by 6 percent, Johnson feels that with the addition of more hotels tourism could become a bigger part of Lodi's economy.

Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce agreed with Johnson and Kuehne.

"We all know our tourist industry and our wine industry is growing exponentially, and we truly need the hotel rooms so that was sad for me," she said in response to learning about La Quinta.

The Lodi Planning Commission approved La Quinta Inn and Suites in March 2016. It would have replaced the empty parking lot west of Motel 6 on Cherokee Lane. La Quinta would have added 76 rooms to Lodi's hotel room inventory. The hotel would've been four stories tall and would have included a breakfast bar, a 25-person conference room and a Jacuzzi.

With other hotel projects on the horizon, Visit Lodi President Nancy Beckman doesn't think the loss will have much of an impact on tourism in Lodi.

"While Visit Lodi! was looking forward to having the LaQuinta brand in Lodi, we are not concerned that the loss of the brand will have any impact on our growing tourism economy," Beckman said in response to the cancellation of La Quinta. "Lodi has other properties with similar price points, and with the new Fairfield Inn & Suites and Candlewood Suites planned for build-out in 2018-2019, Lodi has a variety of new offerings for visitors to choose from."

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