|By Jeff Rowe, North County Times,
Escondido, Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Mar. 3, 2010--Construction of the Valley View Casino hotel has topped out several floors shorter than originally planned, a nod to the tough economy and neighbors who complained about the planned height.
The casino's owner, the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, had wanted to build a 12-story, 161-room hotel; what is rising from the casino complex site is a seven-story, 108-room hotel, which is expected to be complete by late November. Rooms will be "modern and hip," comparable in luxury to a W hotel, said Sarah Iantosca, a spokeswoman for the casino, which is on the tribe's reservation near Valley Center.
The hotel is expected to cost $72 million, down from $85 million as earlier planned.
Room rates will be set sometime before August, when Valley View anticipates it will begin to accept reservations.
As do other casinos, Valley View will allow some of its top customers to stay in the hotel for free. Such free-room nights are called "comps," hotel parlance for "complimentary."
Also planned as part of the hotel complex: a 5,000-square-foot event center and a pool with a waterfall. Hotel guests will get "breathtaking views of the natural beauty and rolling hills of North San Diego County," Valley View said in a recent news release, acknowledging that neighbor complaints about the shielding of that view contributed to the casino's decision to reduce the scope of the hotel.
"The reduction in size of the hotel is due to a combination of a response to the community's concerns about the height of the hotel and just fiscal responsibility in today's financial climate," Iantosca said.
Downsizing the hotel is a smart idea, said Mark Kallenberger, a Costa Mesa-based hotel analyst with Kallenberger Jones & Co.
"A full rebound (in the hotel business) is probably three years off. As the economy levels off, you always can expand," he said.
For casinos, most of the money is made on the gaming side and building a hotel can help attract new customers, Kallenberger said.
Call staff writer Jeff Rowe at 760-740-5417.
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