Plans advancing for hotel-conference center in Chandler

The Republic | azcentral.com
Chris Coppola

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A plan that would bring a 264-room hotel and conference center to the East Valley is moving forward, with groundbreaking on the project possibly by late this year.

The hotel, which would operate under the Marriott brand, would bring a 50,000-square-foot conference center to Chandler along the Price Road corridor as part of the 180-acre Allred Park Place development, a stretch of parcels south of the Loop 202 Freeway being developed by the San Diego-based Douglas Allred Company. Allred has built numerous commercial office buildings in the Valley, including several in Chandler and Phoenix.

The Chandler City Council last year approved the zoning for a 300-room hotel and conference center at the southwest corner of Price and Willis roads. Company President David Allred said since then, more detailed plans have come together for the project.

“One of the biggest things that’s been lacking is a conference center hotel,” Allred said.

Plans already are advancing for a 180-room Drury Inn and Suites on the east side of Price just to the north, but that property will not come with the extensive conference space that is needed on the Price Corridor. The Marriott conference center will be large enough to accommodate a meeting of 1,000 people while having several simultaneous breakout meetings in other rooms on the property, Allred said. The conference center will be equipped with a full-service kitchen, he added.

Though the hotel would carry the Marriott brand it will be operated by Weingardner and Hammons Inc., a hotel-management company based in Cincinnati, Allred said.

“What you get with the Marriott brand is their quality in terms of standards you would expect, and you get their marketing and reservations system. You get name identity,” he said.

Allred said he hopes the project will break ground by late this year or early 2016.

A major hotel conference center will provide a significant boost to Chandler’s efforts to attract out-of-town business meetings, said Micah Miranda, Chandler’s economic development director.

“There are a limited number of spaces or facilities that have a large enough footprint that can accommodate up to 700 or 800 guests,” he said.

Miranda said the conference center will provide a twofold benefit.

“It’s not only the businesses that currently are here, but it will allow our tourism offices to recruit groups to Chandler that we previously couldn’t sell to,” he said.

The location on the Price Corridor, within proximity to such major corporate centers as Wells Fargo, Orbital Sciences, Intel, Bank of America and General Motors, is ideal, he added.

“We have a number of large corporate users that obviously bring in folks from around the world,” he said. “This will provide another hotel amenity for people to stay at where they will be able to have an off-site retreat,” he said.

Allred said the proposal will have to go back to the Chandler City Council for some adjustments to its previous approval now that more specifics are known. He characterized those changes as fairly minor, in part pertaining to the exact number of rooms proposed.

Miranda said he couldn’t comment on how the city might receive any proposed changes until they are presented, but added the city strongly supports the hotel-conference center concept at the location.

East Valley meeting space

A Marriott hotel proposed for Chandler’s Price Road corridor will bring a 50,000-square-foot conference center to the area, helping to fill an ongoing need for business meeting space in the Southeast Valley. Here are examples of other locations in the region and their available meeting/event space:

• Crown Plaza San Marcos Resort, Chandler: 35,000 square feet
• Hilton Phoenix/Mesa: 25,000 square feet
• Downtown Mesa Marriott: 58,000 square feet (adjacent to Mesa Convention Center)
• Phoenix Marriott Tempe at the Buttes: 40,000 square feet
• Mesa Convention Center: 38,000 square feet (combined exhibit and meeting space)
• Sheraton Wrigleyville West Mesa (opening April 9):37,000 square feet

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