Cal Poly mulling $155 million hotel and arena project
August 8, 2014
Cal Poly is considering building a $155 million on-campus complex that would include a hotel, a conference center and a basketball arena. [Tribune]
The proposed project is intended to bolster the university’s hospitality degree program and replace an aging men and women’s basketball facility. It would consist of an upper-scale with a conference center and an adjacent events center that would house the arena.
The university paid a consulting firm $130,000 to analyze the feasibility of the project. This week, Cal Poly released the 136-page study, which discusses costs and marketability of the proposal.
Consulting firm Brailsford and Dunlavey projected a proposed 120-room hotel with a 22,000 square-foot conference center, a 12,000 square-foot ballroom and possibly a museum to cost $48 million. The hotel and conference center would produce about $2 million in profit in the first year of operation and $4.3 million by the third year, according to the consultants.
The events center, which would include a 5,500-seat basketball arena and space for rodeo activities and concerts, is expected to cost $107 million. The consulting firm projects the events center to operate at a loss of $100,000 for each of the first five years of operation.
Construction of the project would create 600 jobs, the consultants say. Once in operation the complex would employ 133 people.
Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong and Provost Kathleen Enz Finken said in a letter to the campus community that the project is in an exploratory phase and no decisions have been made.
As part of the study, the consulting firm interviewed locals in the hotel industry. The consultants determined that the project might pose a competitive threat to the Embassy Suites and Madonna Inn, both of which have spaces for conferences and expositions.
Madonna Enterprises President Clint Pearce weighed in on the Cal Poly proposal. Though Pearce said Madonna Inn would lose some business from conferences, he said the positives of the Cal Poly plan would outweigh the threat of competition.