$125 million Omni Tempe hotel on track for 2023 opening

$125 million Omni Tempe hotel on track for 2023 opening

Article Originally Posted By PhoenixBusinessJournal On March 4, 2022

After the Covid-19 pandemic delayed construction, the $125 million Omni Tempe Hotel at Arizona State University is on track to be open around May of 2023.

The hotel “topped out” on Thursday, meaning the last beam was placed in the structure. Construction officially began on the hotel, located at Mill Avenue and University Drive in Tempe, in September.

“The original timeline had us being very close to open (by now) had it not been for the pandemic,” Dan Piotrowski, senior vice president of operations for Omni Hotels & Resorts, said. “When the pandemic hit, we talked to our partners at ASU and the city and hit pause on the project.”

As the travel and hospitality industry was heavily impacted in the Covid-19 pandemic, the construction pipeline for new hotels across the nation and the Valley, unsurprisingly, slumped. The number of U.S. hotel rooms under construction was down about 61,000 rooms at the end of last year from the country’s all-time high achieved in April 2020, according to STR Inc., a hotel-market data firm based in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

 Despite the blow the pandemic struck to the hospitality industry, Piotrowski said the demand drivers in Tempe are unmatched, with the university, the nearby office buildings, the proximity to Sky Harbor International Airport and other factors all contributing to demand for hotel rooms and meeting space.

“When we started our conversations with the university, we asked what they wanted most in a hotel,” Piotrowski said. “They told us they needed robust meeting space, so we designed the hotel from that.”

The hotel will total 330 rooms including 11 suites, about 36,000 square feet of meeting space, four dining options, a rooftop bar and a pool deck. Piotrowski said the Tempe hotel will be similar to a location that Omni has in Frisco, Texas, which is on the campus of the Star, which is the practice facility for the Dallas Cowboys.

“Construction on the Omni Hotel Tempe at ASU and conference center is making great progress, and the anticipated entrance experience at the northwest corner of the Tempe campus and downtown Tempe is coming into focus,” ASU CFO Morgan Olsen said in a statement. “This four-star hotel and conference center in downtown Tempe will bolster community and economic development while providing ASU with the ability to host large research and education-related meetings and public functions.”

The hotel will feature a three-meal restaurant in the lobby called Neighborhood Services, as well as a rooftop bar with food service, and a coffee shop with retail in the hotel. Omni owns and operates its own food and beverage services.

C+TC Design Studio Inc. is the architect for the hotel, Brasfield & Gorrie is the general contractor and Monogram at BBGM is the interior design firm.

The hotel is being built on land owned by the Arizona Board of Regents, the governing body for Arizona’s three public universities, including ASU. Omni will be the owner and operator of the hotel and will operate on a ground lease from ABOR.

ASU is developing the parking structure that will be used by ASU and hotel guests near the hotel building.

The hotel had been subject to controversy after Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich sued ABOR over the deal, which he alleged was the university “renting out” its tax status to private developers. Lower courts have ruled against Brnovich. The Arizona Supreme Court heard the case in December and has not yet issued a ruling.