“boutique-type” Hampton Inn is set to be finished this time next year at the northwest corner of Easy Street and Carefree Drive.
Construction started in late spring, and the final pour on the foundation was laid last week, said Gary Neiss, Carefree’s town administrator. Vertical elements will start being constructed in the next month.
COVID-19 presented construction delays, which pushed back the completion date three to four months, Neiss said. During the shutdowns it was hard to find enough qualified trades to complete the work, he said.
“I would say by next fall by this time you should see a complete building there,” he said.
The Southwest-style hotel will have stucco with stone accents on the sides and will consist of 97 rooms. Resort-style amenities like a large pool as well as a spa and fire area will be part of the completed project, which goes above and beyond a normal Hampton Inn. “This one is a higher-end type of Hampton Inn,” Neiss said.
The Hampton Inn will also have a bar and will provide a continental breakfast for its guests, Neiss said. The finished hotel will provide up to 80 new jobs.
The architectural design is also atypical to how most Hampton Inns are laid out. The first floor will be buried into the hillside, making it appear as a three-story building on the east side and a four-story building on the west, he explained.
“It’s not going to be your prototypical Hampton Inn, which is kind of rectangular,” Neiss said. “It’s going to morph into the shape around Easy Street so it would have a softer face to it.”
While Carefree residents are dealing with a closure on Easy Street, the long-term impacts of the hotel will bring direct and indirect benefits to the town as well as the residents, Neiss said. He said the Hampton Inn will add “a new dimension” to the town center.
Direct benefits from the hotel are included in the construction, as it will generate revenue for the town. When it’s open for business there will be a direct benefit from the bed and sales tax on each room.
With a critical mass of restaurants in the town center conducting most of its business in the evening, the hotel will complement that and act as another anchor, Neiss explained.
“This will be an intrinsic change to our town center, and it’s for the viability of this commercial area for three years to come,” he said.
Collectively, the hotel and restaurants will create an organic foot traffic pattern that also complements the business and retail district within the town center, he added.
“That will generate indirect revenue from additional sales tax from business being generated by those folks leaving the hotel, going to a restaurant and then walking by a shop and maybe wanting to buy some art or some other things,” he said.
The direct benefits for residents? “We do not assess a property tax,” Neiss explained.
The town is mainly funded through sales tax, he said. Businesses such as the Hampton Inn will help create the anchor that indirectly creates more business that generates more revenue to offset increases in cost of the inflation rate index of the services the town provides.
The revenue will also help fund capital projects like paving the streets as well as implementing drainage improvements and other projects that the community would like to see in the future, he explained.
“All of these projects help to benefit the town residents by funding the services that they desire,” he said.
Overall, the hotel attracting guests and foot traffic is something “that’s very positive to the future of our town center and will create a more sustainable environment economically for the town.”