Gateway Canyons Resorts halts expansion

The sluggish economy is taking a toll on local tourism, with officials at Gateway Canyons Resort putting the brakes on several expansion plans.

Gateway Canyons Resort is postponing construction of 80 guest rooms, employee housing, a golf course, a housing development and other luxuries for now. The move will slow the hiring of about 300 employees in all sectors of hospitality, including food and beverage, culinary, housekeeping, maintenance, laundry and recreation, including golf and tennis area employees, officials said.

“Plans have been put on hold,” said Lee Bowden, a general manager at the resort. “The main reason is the economy. We’re a tourist-oriented market, and tourism is going in the tank right now, especially at the upscale, higher-end resorts. With economic considerations being what they are, we figured it would be better to take a pause for a little bit.”

The resort will revisit continuing the projects as the economic circumstances unfold, which Bowden guessed would be a year or more down the road.

The academy building, which will house a conference center, ballroom, restaurant and bar, and theater, is under construction and is planned for completion. The Mission Bell Events Center, an outdoor venue for weddings, concerts and outdoor movies, will be built, too. Both are scheduled to be finished by Aug. 1, 2009.

Julie Constan, senior engineer with Mesa County, said the slowdown of the construction doesn’t have a negative effect on the wastewater plant planned for the area.

“It’s giving us a chance to get some planning in place for the wastewater plant itself, as opposed to having to play catch-up with them,” Constan said. “They aren’t going to have nearly as aggressive a schedule as they had talked to us about.”


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