Gilbert has never been a place with an abundance of overnight lodgings for traveling business professionals. But that is about to change. Developers announced Thursday they plan to build two hotels - a Marriott Courtyard and Marriott Residence - near the SanTan Village shopping center.
Two other hotels in Gilbert are in the works, and town leaders say more are likely to come.
Mesa-based Sunridge Properties said Thursday it will start construction on both Marriott hotels in early 2009 near the northwest corner of Williams Field Road and SanTan Village Parkway, west of the shopping center. Representatives of Sunridge, which will own and operate the hotels, said work will finish on the buildings by December 2010.
The announcement comes two months after construction started on the six-story, 127-room Hyatt Place that is expected to open as early as February 2009 at Val Vista Drive and the Santan Freeway stretch of Loop 202. Another hotel - Hampton Inn - is set for construction next to Hyatt Place.
When the last nail is hammered on the four developments, Gilbert is expected to have six hotels. Currently there is only one hotel in town, an InTown Suites at Guadalupe Road and Arizona Avenue.
"From the town's perspective, it's and exciting time," said Dan Henderson, Gilbert's business development manager.
Henderson added there will likely be more to come as the town is attracting a lot of interest from hotel developers. He said the town has at least six hotels in the pipeline.
"That's not to say that all of those are going to take place," he added.
Henderson said Gilbert is attractive to hoteliers for several reasons. It has five employment corridors where it is relaxing building height limitations, 100,000 health care professionals within a 45-minute drive, and $700 million in projects planned in town.
"Hotel development and hotel interest is not spurred by one thing," he said. "It's a culmination of all those things."
Brian Welker, president of Sunridge, said Gilbert is a natural fit for his projects.
"It's just part of the Valley that's growing and has been underserved," he said. "The Santan area is a dynamic area that's just taking off - especially in the last year. With the (Phoenix-Mesa) Gateway Airport and the mall and the new hospital and different things out there, we just felt it was a good time to make a move."
Welker said the combined projects, which will be separated by a common courtyard, will likely cost about $25 million to build.
He described the lodgings as upper midscale.
"They're not economy or budget, (but) they're not full-service," he said.