Developer breaks ground for new downtown hotel. Spring 2015 opening targeted
Four years of talks, negotiations, hopes and disappointments ended with a new beginning Monday morning when ground was finally broken for a new Hotel in the city.
“What a long time coming,” said City manager Craig Jones.
The a new Best Western Express, three stories tall with 60 rooms and a banquet facility, will start construction with a completion date in the spring of 2015.
The $10.5 million project will create 26 new jobs in Taft, Developer Geary Coats said, but more importantly, it gives the community a big shot in the arm as it develops both a new commercial area around Rails to Trails and its traditional downtown commercial hub on Center Street a block away.
“This will be the catalyst,” Mayor Paul Linder said. “Taft certainly deserves this. We are poised for growth.”
The city started talks in earnest with potential developers in early 2011 and several promising developments fell though.
“It's happening here. It's happening now,” Linder said.
Taft has several motels, but all are at least 50 years old and rooms are often hard to come by.
That forced the city to have to turn people away, to send them to Maricopa, Buttonwillow and Bakersfield, Jones said.
After the spring of next year, that may not be necessary.
Coats said the culmination of years of efforts was a team effort, involving just not himself and his development team as well as the Best Western Investors, but the City and the Taft District Chamber of Commerce.The Caprice Motel, built in the mid-1960s, is the youngest motel.
They city has not had a hotel for travelers in many decades.
The Fox Hotel's rooms were all closed when it burned in 1969, and the Savoy Hotel had become a residential motel before it was destroyed by fire in the mid-1980s