BY ROBERT MORALES
City council members on Tuesday gave final approval to Summit II Developers LLC for the shared expenses of providing water and sewer service to a new Holiday Inn Express that will be built on the I-10 frontage road. The proposed location is immediately east of the Super 8 on the I-10 frontage road.
Glen Kistenmacher, the engineer in charge of the project, said that construction is ready to begin almost immediately. The councilâ€™s approval of this last detail will ensure the project will proceed as quickly as possible.
Although Mr. Kistenmacher did not have the total number of rooms readily available, he said the three-story hotel would have between 125 and 150 rooms.
The much larger hotel will provide a financial windfall for the Town of Van Horn. According to City Administrator Fran Malafronte, the 62-room Hampton Inn is doing between $170,000 and $190,000 in monthly room sales. The city collects roughly $12,800 per month in hotel-motel taxes every month. In addition, the city, as well as the other taxing entities will benefit as well through the collection of ad valorem taxes.
Ms. Malafronte added that any safety concerns about a three-story hotel were put to rest when the city was first approached with the project. She said she immediately asked the developer to provide complete insurance coverage as well as having an assurance from the underwriter that the hotel would be fully insured. One of the safety features will include a water sprinkler system throughout the hotel.
After discussion of the hotel, Ms. Malafronte said she received a bombshell from West Texas Gas. She said she meets with these representatives from time to discuss the municipal gas company operated by the Town of Van Horn. This time the representatives told her that they would be interested in buying the cityâ€™s gas company. It was a preliminary discussion only, and now city council members must decide whether to proceed with a potential sale. More information will be made available later, said Ms. Malfronte.