HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Hill Air Force Base is one step closer to seeing a Morale, Welfare and Recreation hotel become a reality, as a groundbreaking ceremony for the Mayflower Mountain Resort took place June 9.
Once open, the 642,000-square-foot conference hotel will include a block of 100 rooms that will be available at a preferred rate for active duty and retired service members. In addition, there will be a tax for regular guests that will go towards Hill Air Force Base’s MWR account.
“We are very excited that our military families will have MWR opportunities in this area, where reduced hotel rates will allow them to experience the amenities of a four-star ski resort, when they’d otherwise be priced out of that opportunity,” said Col. Jenise Carroll, 75th Air Base Wing commander. “The hotel will also generate MWR revenue for the base, benefitting all Hill employees, not just those who choose to visit the hotel.”
Carroll said Hill’s MWR programs provide building blocks essential for resiliency, squadron readiness, and trust among military members and their families. Improved morale and welfare has a positive impact on productivity, mission effectiveness, retention and recruitment, she added.
The development of the MWR hotel has been in the works for two decades. In the late 1990s, a small military MWR ski lodge near Snowbasin Resort in Huntsville, Utah, closed in preparation for the 2002 Winter Olympics. In 2001, Congress passed legislation granting a federally-owned, 26-acre parcel in Park City, Utah, to the Air Force on which to either construct a new MWR facility or trade for other property of equal value.
Written into the legislation was a requirement to partner with a private or governmental entity for construction, as no monies were appropriated for the project. The Air Force partnered with the Military Installation Development Authority, or MIDA, an organization that facilitates private-public partnership opportunities that distribute legislative appropriations and issue bonds.
The Air Force asked MIDA for assistance in finding a suitable location for the new MWR facility, and, in 2017, Wasatch County reached out to MIDA with a proposed parcel that ultimately Extell agreed to donate. With MIDA facilitating the land trade, the opportunity arose to partner with Wasatch County and Extell, the ideal three-way partnership to pursue Wasatch County’s vision for development.
“Economic development by way of a new, world-class resort community that remarkably includes a hotel for our heroes and the ability to provide much-needed infrastructure are all significant examples of progress to celebrate,” said Paul Morris, MIDA executive director.
The conference hotel will be branded and has been designed to include 387 hotel rooms and suites, 55 private residences, and more than 60,000 square feet of pre-conference, banquet space and conference services. Amenities include restaurants, a coffee shop and deli, a fitness center, a pool, ski lockers, and underground parking.
The hotel site is located within Deer Valley Resort planned expansion to include seven new ski lifts located east of and next to Park City. In addition, estate lots and townhomes within two communities, totaling approximately 300 residences, are being platted. Ski lifts and snowmaking are engineered, and grading and clearing will begin in the fall of 2021.
Jacobsen Construction, the general contractor, expects to complete construction of the MWR conference hotel in 30 months, with the opening slated for December 2023. The hotel construction is expected to cost about $390 million.