Investors eye Gra-Neva complex for hotel project |

Investors eye Gra-Neva complex for hotel project

John HartInvestors may decide within one to two months whether to pursue development of the Gra-Neva site into a hotel project.
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A group of hotel investors is eyeing Grass Valley as the possible site of a hotel and meeting center.

Nothing is definite, but the investors are taking a pretty hard look.

Hard enough that the 2.2-acre Gra-Neva complex property on Bank Street is in escrow. Hard enough that they have talked to city officials.

And hard enough that they have crunched some preliminary numbers for revenue and marketability that make it apparent the project could work as a business.

At this point, the investor group is “working forward to build” a hotel at the Gra-Nevada complex, said Tim Reuter, a real estate broker for Remax in Roseville who is involved with the project

No plans have been filed with the city of Grass Valley yet, and the size of the project and number of rooms have not been determined, said Reuter.

There is not yet enough information to “make the final step,” said Reuter – a commitment from the partnership that says go ahead. That point is probably 30 to 60 days away, he said.

The Gra-Neva property on Bank Street is owned by Jack Cramer, who referred questions to Reuter.

Reuter said three chains are under consideration: Hampton, Holiday Inn and Marriott Courtyard Suites.

The hotel would have an estimated 75 percent occupancy rate with room charges in the $80 range, Reuter said.

Reuter said the investors group is comprised of Mike Bullis, a Los Angeles hotelier who was one of the partners who ran Disneyland Hotels and was president of a statewide hotel trade association; Hallmark Development of Roseville; and M.P. Allen, a Roseville construction firm.

The same investor group, which i building a hotel in Jackson, has been looking at Grass Valley for four years, said Reuter.

The area would be a good site for a hotel and meeting center because of its weekend events schedule and the need for meeting facilities, said Reuter.

Developers hope the meeting facilities would appeal to government agencies and local companies, and could also be marketed to Bay Area high-tech firms for seminars and conferences.

The hotel idea was first studied in 1998 by PKF Consulting, a hospitality consultant in San Francisco, which concluded there is a need for a quality hotel in Grass Valley, and that it would be financially viable.

The hotel and conference center would have from 50 to 100 rooms and most likely be at the Gra-Neva complex, the second largest of four sites that PKF studied and the most accessible.

Since that study, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have put a crimp in many tourist destinations, such as San Francisco. But the Grass Valley hotel would still be viable, said Reuter.

Mayor Linda Stevens said the city has always been in favor of a hotel and conference center.

The city even is willing to support the project financially through economic block grants, said Stevens. City officials have met with hotel representatives twice.

Standing to benefit from the hotel are downtown merchants including Stevens, who has a barber shop. The hotel would be within walking distance of downtown, which would reduce traffic, compared with other locations, noted Stevens.

“Any other location, they would have gotten in their cars,” she said.

City finances would also benefit from bed tax revenues.

Possible losers in the project would be an appliance store and other enterprises displaced by the hotel project, including City Center Playhouse, which is housed in the Gra-Neva complex. Construction of the hotel and meeting center would require demolition of the existing buildings.

“I’m sad about the theater over there, and Gra-Neva, those things,” said Stevens. “I’m hoping they look at staying in Grass Valley somehow.”

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