Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Null to Void

Arizona Star reporter Rob O’Dell has been busy lately, and today he published an online piece informing us that the Hotel Arizona in downtown Tucson is likely to close after the gem show if it doesn’t receive a “taxpayer-funded improvement package.”

Readers here can no doubt imagine the love expressed for hotel owner Humberto Lopez in the reader comments submitted after the piece. The bombshell in the article is near the bottom, where we learn that the hotel currently projects 6% occupancy for the month of December.

The hotel closed the restaurant and gift shop, laying off staff by the dozens. The gem show is in February.

Six percent.

What were the occupancy projections in the HVS forecast for the $230M Garfield Traub project?

Oh, but wait, this is winter when the weather is great everywhere else (a refreshing 17 degrees at my place this morning) and people don’t visit the SW desert. Occupancy rates will dramatically rise in the summer when people flock into town for the 115 degrees. Oh. Uh.

Oh, but wait, the issue is really the hotel itself. Other hotels in the area are doing just fine. Starr Pass and the La Poloma and the Doubletree are raking it in. Oh. Uh.

Oh, but wait, I have an idea. Let’s spend upwards of $10M per year on a visitor and tourism agency to generate huge numbers of tourists, visitors, and conventions that will pack our hotels and save the day. That’s money well spent and win/win for everyone. Oh. Uh.

Oh, but wait, we're not thinking big enough. Let's pass tax increment financing to produce a juicy TIF district that can generate hundreds of millions of dollars to REALLY improve the downtown area, just like San Diego, Albuquerque and other awesome towns. Oh, uh...

UPDATE: From the expanded 12/9 article: Nearly 70 of the hotel's approximately 200 rooms are out of service.

"We had seven rooms sold last night," Lavigne said.

So, if no one is coming now, what improvement changes this and why?


Anonymous Another Anon said...

Humberto should be tarred and feathered. As Second Saturday Night entertainment.

12/08/2010 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I reading this right? A hotel owner is demanding that taxpayers fix his hotel?

Did I miss an important memo? Clue me in.

I'd like taxpayers to buy me a Subway franchise. Seriously, I'll let TREO take credit for the jobs I create, and I'll buy an ad in the MTCVB magazine.

12/08/2010 9:36 PM  
Blogger Cigar Man said...

Haha! Talk to Juanito's taco truck on 12th. First, you pay the Cloth.

Well, if this demand at the "cloth trough" doesn't make things clear, nothing will. Between this and the recent MTCVB exposure, it's painfully obvious.

I'm not sure what's happening with the DTP, and I think I heard that the Lot 175 fiasco has been cleaned up, or at least improved.

I really like x4mr's obvious but not sufficiently recognized observation that MTCVB is paid a fortune for the expressed purpose of generating business for our hotels, and we have what to show for it?

Walker and his puppy make $400,000 a year, and our resorts and downtown hotel are going under?

It goes back to what x4mr has said for years. The Cloth is a collection of connected suits who draw fat salaries, don't do jack, and are never held to account for their lack of results.

Don't forget TREO. Does anyone think its cubicle farm has produced a single job in this town ever?

12/09/2010 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Robish said...

Humberto is a convenient target, but let's not forget that his hotel's only real market is whatever business that comes to the TCC.

The City of Tucson has utterly failed to make the Tucson Convention Center a competitive facility, and both its staff and MTCVB share blame for inept and lazy sales and marketing efforts.

The Hotel Arizona's rooms are not great, but the 6% occupancy is largely a reflection of the inadequacy of the convention center from which it is supposed to draw its customers.

12/09/2010 10:32 PM  

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