Spring may see hotel work begin | TheUnion.com

Spring may see hotel work begin

A large part of the vision for downtown Grass Valley will start coming into focus in a few months, when crews break ground on a new 80-room hotel and conference center.

Nick Hayhurst of Hallmark Development, owners of the project, said the demolition of the complex that once housed the Gra-Neva appliance store along Bank Street is imminent.

“We should be real close to mid-spring,” Hayhurst said.

After the 30 to 60 days it will take to clear the site, construction will start on the three-story, 56,496-square-foot Holiday Inn Express, Hayhurst said. Along with a hotel, the project will have 3,400 square feet of conference space and 5,755 square feet of retail space.

“We’re going to have a very large outdoor plaza that will accommodate 200 people,” Hayhurst said. “A lot of people have contacted us about events – local groups, corporate training, weddings.”

Howard Levine, executive director of the Grass Valley Downtown Association, said the project garnered unanimous support from the association’s members when it was conceived during a “visioning” workshop in 1997. He said an event with 200 people would still outstrip the capacity of the 80-room hotel, even at double occupancy. That overflow likely will go to other hotels and inns in the area, he said.

“It’s going to create a whole new vitality to that part of town,” Levine said. “And the people who stay there will walk around town, go to shops and restaurants.”

Levine said Hayhurst worked closely with the association and residents to develop a project that fit with the look and needs of downtown. Hayhurst, meanwhile, praised the community and the city.

“We’ve been involved in hundreds of hotel projects. This one is probably in the top three,” Hayhurst said. “Everyone in town has been very supportive.”

Hayhurst said Michael Bullis will manage the hotel operation in Grass Valley. Bullis is the past president of Disney Resorts and one of the founding directors of the California Tourist Board.

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