It was a year ago at this time when and a large parking lot for the airport surfaced.
The development was planned near the corner of College and Howell avenues. After the council approved a package that , the project was said to be "full speed ahead."
But today, there is a distinct lack of a Four Points by Sheraton hotel at the College and Howell intersection, at the least the last time I checked around noon Monday. Or even any sign of impending construction.
In fact, "for sale" signs were put back up at that corner sometime earlier this year.
The developer for the project, Greg Trapani of Syner G Hotel Group, didn't return a call or e-mail seeking comment. But Mayor Steve Scaffidi said Trapani will be back in front of the Common Council in June to provide an update about where things stand.
That implies to me the project isn't dead. But it has certainly stalled, considering Trapani and city officals expected construction to start by the end of 2011.
Though it wasn't clear why the project is delayed, financing problems have plagued it since the beginning. A hotel development at College and Howell was first approved back in 2008, right as the economy began its free-fall and made financing "nearly impossible."
A revised plan came to the council in 2010 and the latest plans were approved in May of 2011.
The Sheraton hotel was to feature 107 guest rooms, a full-service restaurant, bar, fitness center, swimming pool, business center and meeting facilities. The 1,830-stall covered parking lot would serve the needs of Mitchell International Airport and generate revenue for the city.
And that was just the first phase. Plans called for two more hotels, a banquet facility, two restaurants and commercial and retail space in additional phases.
Those plans may be scaled back in the light of the difficulty getting the first phase under way.
Scaffidi said the council is interested to hear what's going on, given its previous financial commitment. The $4.5 million would come through a tax-incremental financing district, with the property taxes generated by the development to pay off the loan.
"Our goal is not to finance the project," he said. "We want to put together a package to make it happen."