An Embassy Suites will officially open Tuesday at Fairbourne Station, the result of an innovative arrangement used by the city to bring an upscale hotel to the urban renewal project. The 162-suite hotel includes a Shula’s 347 Grill, which also will celebrate its grand opening Tuesday. The restaurant is part of Hall of Fame Miami Dolphins football coach Don Shula’s Florida-based chain.
The hotel, at 3524 S. Market St. (2790West), is considered a cornerstone in West Valley’s $500 million downtown redevelopment effort. To finance construction, the city’s redevelopment agency borrowed $33 million from a private lender and is leasing the seven-story building to West Valley Lodging Initiatives LLC, a Las Vegas-based private company that built the hotel. Renascent Hospitality is managing the property. “We’re very excited to have the first full service hotel on the west side,” West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder said. “It’s really the first of what will be many, many more terrific projects in Fairbourne Station.”
Embassy Suites, a Hilton brand, already has seen plenty of business — at its “soft” opening in January, the hotel sold out almost immediately during the Outdoor Retailers conference that month, according to general manager Jim Burkett. Each suite — which range from about 450 to 550 square feet — has two rooms, with a pull out sleeper in each room; a hospitality center with a microwave, refrigerator and a sink; two 42-inch HDTVs; ports at the work desk that allow guests to use the TV as a computer monitor; and remote controls that can set the room temperature from the bed.
Other amenities include a fitness facility; indoor pool; guest laundry; 7,500 square feet of meeting space; an interactive board where visitors can look up movies and other events and print out tickets; a made-to-order breakfast every morning; and a manager’s reception every evening with snacks and drinks. And, Burkett said, the hotel was built to give guests great views of the mountains. Embassy Suites employs about 80 workers and Shula’s 347 Grill has about 35.
Shula, who is in Utah for the grand opening, said Monday that his first restaurant, opened in 1989 in Miami Lakes, Fla., was so successful that “we just kept picking out spots to expand.” His wife, Mary Anne, the CEO and chairman of Shula Steak Houses LLLP, said West Valley is a prime location. “We decided this would be a good market,” she said. “We’re really excited about the redevelopment in West Valley City. It’s a good fit.”
The chain has three dozen restaurants in 15 states, which are independently owned and operated by a franchisee or licensee. The grill is one of the six types of restaurants in the chain and named for the 347 career wins by the “winningest” coach in NFL history. As part of its grand opening, Shula’s is holding a private silent auction, with all proceeds going to Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Salt Lake City.
Patrick Kemp, a hotel guest from Corona, Calif., gave Shula’s 347 Grill a thumbs up. He also was pleased with Embassy Suites. “I love the hotel,” he said. “They’re very high tech. The room is awesome.” Fairbourne Station is designed to be a centerpiece for West Valley City. The state’s second-largest city, which was incorporated in 1980 and has 130,000 residents, grew up as a suburban and farming community and never had an area considered to be a downtown.
In addition to Embassy Suites, the project will include an upscale apartment complex, offices, stores and green space next to a transportation hub. The Promenade — a $3.4 million park that includes a pavilion with a shade structure, pedestrian and bike-friendly walkways, a fountain and a stream of water running through it where people can splash around — opened in August.
The development, which covers 40 acres south of 3500 South between 2700 West and 3200 West, will be built with an estimated $500 million of private investment and is expected to eventually create about 3,000 permanent jobs