Cal Poly mulling $155 million hotel and arena project

August 8, 2014

cal polyCal 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.


Dirk Anderson

Hospitality degree program? World renowned University and a four year degree to become a waitress? who knew?

What does this Provost Kathleen Fink have to do with any of this? Who wrote that job description.

“Competitive threat Embassy Suites, Madonna Inn”? “Projected” profit the first year 2 million…math does not look all that great?

Although it is not too practical, I have been pursuing the toughest Academic discipline I will ever take on: Greek, Sanskrit, Avestan etc. Brutal ! I use the Cal Poly Library. Now they take a University Campus and turn it into a resort? there you go.

Cal Poly and the community is what it is. Wheres my Am Track ticket?


Executive housekeeping is a rewarding career.

Dirk Anderson

For you.


a very successful family member retired from executive level housekeeping, after traveling the world opening new hotels, very generously compensated for her skills.

Thank you so much.

Dirk Anderson

Good for her, whats your excuse?

I have my days, but your contradictory comments are not making a whole lot of sense to me? Maybe someday I can rise to your level?

“Are people totally insane” you would know.

“that word you use doesn’t mean what you think it means.”

“progressives are the people who first raised the qquestion: is it proper for one family to control the interest rate for an entire nation? the progressive root, the tea party is a off shoot of a global anti tax movement orbiting tobacco marketing globaly. the teaparty troop movement .”

I’m sorry, but I don’t get it. Please don’t bother explaining it. Must have been a good trip?


those highlighted words in my comments happen to be links! Readers like you can click them for a clue.

Dirk Anderson

Thank you I am somewhat color blind (seriously). Unless I hover over it I would not have guessed that it existed, I may not be the only one?

Still I don’t think I want to go down that rabbit hole.

“When Facts Are Not Enough: Treating Mass Psychosis”?

Do your links relate directly to the topic? I think I prefer to remain clueless.

I’m not going to read them to find out, that’s your world. Are you on the clock? Another Cop with a lot of time on his hands.

I was in no way attempting to demean waitresses, some make a ton of money. But is a four year degree from a Prestigious and expensive University required for these careers? What ever.


Since they have $150M or so to spend, why not also build the homeless shelter on the calpoly campus.

It will make the liberal professors feel good about themselves as if they actually matter, the students will get a visual daily reminder to stay in school and off drugs, and the homeless will be able to experience pseudo college life.


that word you use doesn’t mean what you think it means.


Who’s paying for this proposed project.the taxpayers? It seems we’ve strayed from the concept of higher learning and are focusing on fund raising and entertainment as a means of education.

Is this the new EPCOT west?

fishing village

Drop this idea!!


In a June 26, 2014, “Daily Brief” we were inspired by California State Parks’ decision to replace Hearst Castle’s public restrooms at the Visitor Center with port-a-potties and accompanying hand sanitizer stations. Does Cal Poly’s proposed monstrosity include similar provisions for their guests? If not, why not? We are in a severe drought so anything less than extreme water-saving measures with state-of-the-art zero water bathroom facilities just won’t cut it. What does Governor Brown’s Drought Task Force think about this proposed State project? Please see:

What a completely absurd time to even broach this subject. With our entire state in an extreme water crisis, the last thing we need is a $155 million hotel and arena project. Are people totally insane?


Thanks for the link. I don’t totally agree with it — especially in the broad and biased generalizations about “progressives” and “Tea Partiers” — but it does reinforce something that I have had a hard time accepting about the use of reason in arguments.


you’re welcome, another voice for reason from the voice of russia


progressives are the people who first raised the qquestion: is it proper for one family to control the interest rate for an entire nation? the progressive root, the tea party is a off shoot of a global anti tax movement orbiting tobacco marketing globaly. the teaparty troop movement .


Almost $1000 a page, must be quite a study. I bet it could have been easily done for less.


This is really inexplicable. Cal Poly can’t offer enough classes for its students to graduate on a normal schedule. So why is money being spent on this?


The Armstrong honeymoon seems to be over. He’s showing himself to be a big egotistical ass just like his predecessor. This has nothing to do with academic programs — it’s a business deal, pure and simple, that taxpayers get stuck with. It’s empire building. Will the kids in the hospitality program clean the hotel toilets? I doubt it. So, what exactly will they be learning?

This is the sort of stuff that drags the university down into the corruption gutter where so much of government ends up today. Shame on Armstrong for even hiring the consultant. He’s a disservice to higher education.


Why do aging men and women need a basketball facility?


It’s for profit. The aging will pay big bucks to sit on their enlarged touches in the audience.