Fairbanks hotel announces expansion

Posted: Friday, June 07, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Representatives of Westmark Hotel and Convention Center will demolish the oldest section of the hotel and build an eight-story tower in its place.

Preliminary site work on the $34 million project is scheduled to begin this month, with an opening set for the spring of 2004.

Architect Merle Jantz unveiled the plan for city officials Wednesday and included a diagram depicting a side view of the tower proposal.

Much of the two-story northern portion of the hotel that will be demolished was constructed in the 1950s as the Traveler's Inn.

The project calls for 108 rooms to be replaced with 265 new ones, giving the hotel 400 rooms.

Company President Dave Cocks said part of the motive behind the addition is to try to draw off-season conference-type events from Anchorage and Juneau.

''We'll be going after some of the larger state organizations and conventions, which Fairbanks desperately needs,'' he said. ''We have a lot of faith in the infrastructure of the city.''

No new convention space will be added. Jantz said the difficulty with attracting events has had more to do with a lack of top-caliber accommodations.

''It wasn't the conference space, it was the number of rooms,'' he said. ''Now we'll have 400 good quality rooms ... the rooms are larger, the bathrooms are larger and modern.''

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