The city will soon receive the results of an assessment that will give it a clearer picture of where a downtown hotel might be located. The city budgeted $50,000 for the assessment, which is examining the potential for “economizing” city-used space, according to city Economic Development Manager Bruce Biggi.
There are “two or three” possible downtown locations, according to Mayor Tom Norton, and some of those include properties that are being used by the city for various functions. City officials declined to specify which properties are being considered.
The mayor considers “downtown” to be the area encompassed by the boundaries of 4th Street, 16th Street, 7th Avenue and 12th Avenue.
The assessment, the results of which are due in the city’s hands June 6, will determine which, if any, city buildings downtown can potentially be considered surplus and made available for redevelopment, namely, a hotel.
There are five city buildings in the downtown area: city hall, city hall annex, Lincoln Park annex, a public works building and a recreation center for a total of 140,985 square feet.
The value of the buildings ranges between $588,000 and $1.8 million apiece.
Phase two of the assessment will identify three sites conducive to consolidation of administrative operations and probable long-term savings, according to the city’s request for proposals.
Downtown Greeley has been the focus of many redevelopment efforts recently, with plans set forth by the Downtown Development Authority in November to boost retail spending and encourage multi-family housing in the area.
In November, DDA President Pam Bricker told the Business Report that she was working to bring a hotel to the downtown area and that there was a major hotel chain interested in the area, but she would not disclose details.
A study last year by Denver-based Progressive Urban Management Associates for the DDA noted that the majority of Greeley hotel rooms are located in the periphery of town, primarily along U.S. Highways 34 and 85.
There are three hotels located in the downtown area. The Greeley Inn and the Sodbuster Bed and Breakfast are both downtown, but were not considered to be part of the “core downtown” for the DDA study. The third, a Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, is located in the core of downtown, but most of its rooms nowadays are filled by oil and gas workers.
Workers in Greeley who make their living on the oil fields have kept occupancy rates high in the city for months. Year-to-date in March, the most recent month for which data are available, Greeley’s occupancy rate was 70.6 percent, far exceeding that of Estes Park, a tourist destination with an occupancy rate of 26.9 percent in the same period.
When nearby UNC holds a conference, or when a special event such as the weeks-long Greeley Stampede comes around, accommodations in the city get even tighter.
The downtown area is a natural choice for another hotel because of its proximity to various amenities, such as the Union Colony Civic Center.
“It’s obvious that we need more hotel and conference space,” Bricker said.
It was unclear when the outcome of the second phase of the assessment project will be known.