Gaylord Goes To Mesa

Gaylord Entertainment, the owner of Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry and its neighboring 2,900-room hotel, announced September 4 it has picked Mesa, Ariz., for its fifth resort and conference center project.

The proposal was announced to East Valley leaders at the Mesa Arts Center with Mayor Scott Smith hailing the project as a great opportunity for the city, according to the East Valley Tribune.

The project is expected to open as soon as 2012 and include 10 stories, 1,200 to 1,500 rooms and 300,000 square feet of meeting and convention space. There would also be several restaurants and other resort amenities.

The hotel is to be located in southeast Mesa as Gaylord Entertainment plans to buy 100 acres of the 3,200-acre General Motors Proving Ground from real estate developer DMB Associates. GM is expected to vacate the property by next summer and with city approval, the project could break ground within 90 days of GM moving out.

Gaylord Entertainment is expected to initially develop 50 to 60 acres for the project, with room for expansion, according to the Tribune.

The paper noted that DMB Associates plans to provide a 200-acre desert golf course and resort-style retail complex.

Gaylord CEO Colin Reed said the company, which primarily caters to the large group convention business, was attracted to Mesa because of the opportunity to buy a big piece of real estate and because of its “well-educated work force, communities which are well-governed and a decent community.”

Reed estimates the project will generate at least 2,000 jobs.

Gaylord Entertainment also has properties in Washington D.C., Orlando, Fla., and the Dallas-Fort Worth area.