Construction set for new downtown hotel

Construction is to begin this spring in downtown Grand Junction on a 100-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott. The project could expand the marketing of Two Rivers Convention Center to groups of as many as 300 people.

Owners Kevin Reimer and Steve Reimer are taking advantage of a construction slowdown not only to begin work on the project, but to pump $1 million into the 10-year-old Hawthorn Suites, 225 Main St.

While the western Colorado economy has slowed and lodging-tax revenues in Grand Junction have slipped, “We haven’t seen any real dip in business over the last 18 months,” Steve Reimer said. “We think there’s more demand for downtown hotel rooms.”

The SpringHill Suites project will be on the northwest corner of Third and Main streets, and Steve Reimer said he hopes to have the $9 million to $10 million project begin in April and have it open by spring 2011.

“That leads into a busy time for us, March to October,” when travel is highest, Reimer said.

His window of opportunity to take advantage of the slowdown in the cost of construction, raw materials and labor is probably more narrow than some might think, he said.

“History says this won’t last very long,” Steve Reimer said. “There are a lot of pluses if you can see past the very near future.”

The refurbishment of the Hawthorn Suites includes changing all the furniture, wallpaper and televisions. The front desk in an ongoing project, he said.

The Reimers’ project opens a new opportunity for Two Rivers Convention Center, as well, said Debbie Kovalik, director of the Grand Junction Economic, Convention and Visitor Services Department.

“Adding 100 rooms really does improve our chances for larger groups in Two Rivers Convention Center,” Kovalik said.

Larger groups like to stay in the same building or adjacent to their meeting space, she said.

Business at the two existing hotels, the Hampton Inn and Hawthorn Suites, that is unrelated to conventions or trade shows at the convention center can inhibit opportunities to market the center to those larger groups, Kovalik said.

Construction of the SpringHill Suites, combined with the Downtown Uplift project in the same block “will create more energy in that block of Main Street,” said Heidi Hoffman Ham, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority.

Downtown Uplift involves replacing sidewalks, storm drains, waterlines and lighting along seven blocks of downtown Main Street.

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