Economy no deterrent to future hotel
Brothers press on with plans for mixed-use project
The national recession and the fact that Grand Junction lodging tax revenue dipped last month for the first time in more than four years haven’t scared off Steve and Kevin Reimer.
More than a year after signing an option to buy from the city a parking lot at the corner of Third and Main streets, the brothers are forging ahead with plans to turn the lot into a mixed-use development highlighted by a six- or seven-story hotel.
The Reimers’ plans call for an upscale hotel containing 100 to 110 rooms, as well as retail and office space. They intend to partner with the Business Incubator Center to identify local businesses interested in opening a small retail shop within the development, Steve Reimer said.
They are also working with the Downtown Development Authority to build a three- or four-story parking garage on the back side of the hotel. The garage will be located on four lots between Plaza Repographics and the old Zellner’s Furniture store.
Between 35 and 50 spaces in the garage will be open to the public during the day.
“We think that development on that corner is a great community and economic development opportunity, and we want to be sure that we’re increasing public parking because it will increase traffic,” DDA Executive Director Heidi Hoffman Ham said.
Steve Reimer said he and Kevin, who own and operate the Hawthorne Suites and Hampton Inn downtown, would like to sign a hotel franchise agreement and secure a loan for the $12 million to $14 million project within two months. They could break ground next summer, with construction likely taking 18 months.
The Reimers are cognizant of how difficult it is to obtain financing currently, with lenders requiring more equity and larger down payments. But they also think the economic downturn could work in their favor, believing commodity and labor prices might drop.
And they believe the hotel’s location trumps the 2.6 percent decline in lodging tax collections in November, the first time that figure dropped since August 2004.
“Being downtown, that’s a plus,” Steve Reimer said. “To be out on Horizon Drive or off a freeway exit is not a unique situation. You’re fighting it out with everybody else. We think we offer a unique experience.”