5-story, 163-room Oxford Suites would be closest hotel to casino

  • Artist's rendering of hotel in Rohnert Park

Rohnert Park could see a new hotel break ground on its west side late next year, a project that could help boost the local economy and the city's finances.

The five-story, 163-room Oxford Suites is proposed for a 4.5-acre site at the north end of Redwood Drive at Wilfred Avenue, which is to be renamed Golf Course Drive West.

It would be the closest hotel to a 3,000-slot machine casino the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria plan to open just south of the Home Depot store.

The tribe, which is now waiting on federal government approval for that project, is delaying construction of its own six-story, 200-room hotel until a later date. It hopes to start work on the casino this summer and finish it by the end of 2013.

The Oxford Suites project will help Rohnert Park serve tourists who are visiting the casino and the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, said Linda Babonis, the city's economic development director.

"They're going to be able to meet demand for rooms when the casino opens and the Green Music Center, because not everybody is going to stay in a 4-star hotel," she said. "This is going to be a big deal from that perspective, keeping the dollars and the people in the city."

The City Council is set to take up the application by the Bend, Ore.-based hotel company next Tuesday. It won Planning Commission approval in April.

Beyond the jobs they directly create, hotels are a potent economic force, said Robert Eyler, an economist who directs SSU's Center for Regional Economic Analysis.

"They have a powerful and unique multiplier effect," Eyler said.

Hotels attract tourists from outside the area and extend the amount of time visitors spend in a location, he said. In addition, they also boost local sales and bed taxes, two key sources of city revenue.

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