Two Rivers may get hotel, extras
In an effort to build up Grand Junction’s underperforming Two Rivers Convention Center, the city is hoping to partner with the owners of three downtown hotels to build an attached hotel and improve the existing center — enhancements that could total $20 million.
The city and the Downtown Development Authority have been in talks with Kevin and Steve Reimer to build a new downtown hotel connected to the downtown convention center. The Reimer brothers would also build a junior ballroom inside the hotel where the city and Pinnacle Venue Services — the company that manages Two Rivers, the Avalon Theatre and the Las Colonias Amphitheater — would have primary access.
“This can bring a number of trade shows and conventions and all different kinds of events. It will allow different events to run at the same time,” Steve Reimer told The Daily Sentinel on Friday.
The Reimer brothers own three hotels in downtown Grand Junction — SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inn and Hampton Inn — and are set to break ground on a fourth next spring on Colorado Avenue between Second and Third streets. The Tru Hotel by Hilton, a 45,000-square-foot, $10 million project, is scheduled to open in spring 2019. City Manager Greg Caton said it could be possible to break ground on the convention center hotel, which does not yet have a name or a hotel concept, by late fall 2019.
The city would look to make improvements to Two Rivers in 2018 and 2019.
Caton said the project is still in the proposal phase and would need to be approved by both the City Council and the Downtown Development Authority Board of Directors.
The proposed convention center hotel would cost between $12.5 million and $14 million. The city and the DDA would each put up $3 million toward sprucing up the 23,000-square-foot convention center, with the city using the DDA to acquire its share through debt.
The hotel would be built over part of the existing Two Rivers parking lot and the Reimer brothers would not have to pay for the land, which is owned by the city. The adjacent Mesa Pawn building, which the city purchased for $775,000 last year, would be torn down for additional parking. Additionally, the city would buy the Wells Fargo drive-thru lot on the southeast corner of Second Street and Ute Avenue that the Reimers previously purchased.
Caton had spent the better part of a year looking into the performance of Two Rivers and deemed that it was not performing up to par. An independent study suggested the center needed $7.5 million in work. That total went up to $15.5 million to include a recommended second ballroom for more convention space.
“We’re getting $15.5 million in improvements for $6 million,” he said.
Once complete, Caton believes the revamped center could be a draw for bigger conventions, as the larger space and convenient hotel location would be attractive to those looking for a venue.
“It’s an economic engine,” he said.
Caton also cited bringing in Pinnacle as a catalyst for this project, as he feels it has already helped prevent the center from losing more money. Steve Reimer added that he and his brother would not have taken on the project without the efforts of Pinnacle.
Kevin Reimer said the decision to build two new hotels downtown made sense as the three existing hotels have performed well and the hope is to bring more people to downtown Grand Junction. He hopes the hotels can hope spur retail activity.
He said a restaurateur is already interested in opening a new brew pub-style restaurant next to the Tru Hotel once that opens.
“It hits on all cylinders for us,” Kevin Reimer said.
The Reimer brothers also have interest in potentially building another hotel near the future Las Colonias business park.
“We think we found our niche, and we want to keep operating in our niche,” Kevin Reimer said.