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Developer Wants Changes to Sheraton Hotel Plans

Hotels would be built on College Avenue instead of Howell.

The developer of a wants some changes to the plans previously approved by the city.

But after running into resistance at the Oak Creek Plan Commission's meeting Tuesdsay night, the plans may stay status quo.

Under the revised plans, the hotel, which will include a restaurant and conference center, would be built on College Avenue, rather than Howell as originally proposed.

An 1,830-space parking lot, meanwhile, would be built facing Howell Avenue instead of College. The lot will be for people using Mitchell International Airport and include a valet service.

Greg Trapani of Syner G Hotel Group, the company developing the facility, acknolwedged the changes came at the 11th hour, but said his team of experts decided the revised layout would be more effective.

Trapani did not see the change as major, saying the development would stay the same but the hotels would simply shift to the north.

But several Plan Commissioners didn't feel the same way. They did not like the idea of a huge parking lot being the major feature on Howell Avenue, one of the city's busiest commercial corridors, and at what is an entrance to Oak Creek.

"I don't see this as a little change. This is a significant change," Plan Commissioner and city development engineer Brian Johnston said. "There's 16 acres of parking on that south side that you (would be) viewing from Howell Avenue. The city has looked at beautifying Howell Avenue and you want a parking lot butting up against that. I don't think that's the right place in the city for this."

Trapani said most of the parking wouldn't be seen since the lot was covered, and that his team would work with the city to ensure it was as aesthetically-pleasing as possible.

But the Plan Commission found that the proposal was a "substantial" change, which means it has to go through a possibly weeks-long approval process that would include a public hearing.

Because that could possibly cause a delay in construciton, Trapani said the idea might ultimately be dropped.

He added that plans for the hotel and parking lot were still on track overall. He and city officials have said they expect construction to start by the end of the year.

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