There’s plans to add another hotel in Sedona but this one has a bit of a twist. Developers of the proposed Marriott Residence Inn met with the Sedona Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday, Oct. 12, for a work session.
No vote was taken and no date has been set for a public hearing, at which time the community can weigh in. The commission is expected to vote at that time.
A development agreement between the city and Sedona Hospitality Group was entered into in late 2014 for 8.1 acres at the corner of State Route 89A and Upper Red Rock Loop Road. At that time, all but 0.77 acres were rezoned from commercial to lodging.
The remaining land was rezoned as open space. The Courtyard by Marriott Sedona was built in 2015 and 2016 and encompasses 4.3 of the total 8.1 acres of land. When Courtyard was approved the developers had stated that there was the possibility of building a second hotel on the property but no plans were presented at that time.
It wasn’t until late last year that owner Paul Welker appeared before the city during a conceptual hearing for Residence Inn.
“Residence Inn is the highest-demand product in the Marriott portfolio, with the full kitchens,” Welker told the commission. “They run the highest occupancy, on average, across the brand. There’s a reason for that. It’s a different product that is underserved. There is a demand for it.”
The plan has changed for the 90-room hotel from when it was first heard nearly a year ago. The number of rooms has decreased while the hotel will be broken into three wings, as opposed to one contiguous building as proposed.
City staff also had concerns regarding height, density and lot coverage. Architect Mark Fredstrom told the commissioners that he feels these concerns have been addressed. In a letter, Fredstrom explained what makes a Residence Inn different from other hotel chains already in Sedona. Residence Inns are intended for longer stays, thus the rooms are larger — studios to two bedrooms with all the amenities — and are designed to feel more like a home than hotel room, he said.
“Residence Inn bridges the gap between a normal hotel room and apartment, which generally requires a lease for a certain length of time,” he wrote. “It is easier for people who don’t know how long they will be staying to check in and out. And, it eliminates the worry of trying to furnish an apartment, hook up utilities, cable and internet. That is a niche not currently offered in Sedona.”
Welker said the price per night decreases the longer the guest stays. A majority of the guests throughout the chain stay an average of four nights, but it’s not uncommon for some to stay for a month or more. Welker has offered several community benefits:
- Trailhead connection, parking and U.S. Forest Service kiosk. The trail will connect to Skywalker Trail.
- Contributing up to $50,000 toward the city’s affordable housing fund.
- On-demand transportation for hotel guests within a 10-mile radius, reducing additional traffic in and around town.
- Providing an access easement to the city for the service and maintenance to the city’s odor treatment facility.
- Public art equal or greater than the city’s requirement.
Some of the commissioners had concerns in regard to how this project complies with both the Sedona Community Plan and the Sedona Gateway Community Focus Area.
City Attorney Robert Pickels said there are still a few gray areas when answering that question.
“This is a unique project with respect to the CFA application,” he said. “You’re not likely to see another project like this, I hope, because of the variables in play. We’re going to figure this out as we progress to the public hearing process.”
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