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Plans resurface for Central Point hotel

CENTRAL POINT — After delays ranging from planning appeals to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, plans for a second hotel at the Interstate 5 interchange are back on the horizon.

Coordinator and architect Daniel Park said he's confident that planned growth in the area will support a 109-room Comfort Suites next-door to Marriott's 68-room Fairfield Inn, which opened last August.

Plans for the four-story, $5 million hotel and restaurant were approved by the city before the Fairfield was constructed and should have been built first, Park said. But the project was plagued by problems from the start.

Initially approved in January 2001, it was delayed by an appeal by neighboring developers regarding reimbursement for infrastructure improvements and the death of landholder William Cornitius.

Even with delays, Park anticipated completion by April 2002. But after Sept. 11, financing seemed to be impossible.

All four investors backed out of the project earlier this year and canceled their franchise agreement.

First to have had so many delays, and with what happened in the nation, timing has been really rotten, Park said. It just really hit the travel industry hard and we had already been in an economic downturn.

It was just a negative time for the whole industry and we were finding that a hotel was not a good risk to loan money on.

Park said the city's planned growth, a proposed amphitheater and increased freeway traffic mean success for a second hotel.

Park is so optimistic, in fact, that he has conducted a feasibility study on building another hotel near the Albertson's Shopping Center.

Development is definitely happening around there. That whole area is really gonna grow up in the next few years and it's the first place you come to after Grants Pass, he said.

In any case, the time is right to resurrect his project, Park said.

I'm looking for a new group of investors, he said. I think things (with the economy) are really turning around so now might be better.

I've had quite a bit of interest already.

Buffy Pollock is a free-lance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at .