SALT LAKE CITY — A year after the Salt Lake city council approved a $1.6 billion deal to build the first Salt Lake Convention Center, the city is poised to open its first downtown hotel next year, according to plans for the Salt River Project.
The city has not yet finalized a formal design for the hotel, which will be located on the former Salt Lake Railroad tracks and is expected to be completed by 2020.
But Mayor Mike Leavitt said the hotel will be a centerpiece of the convention center, which opened its doors in 2012 and is the second largest hotel in the world.
The convention center opened in January with more than 200,000 visitors a day and drew more than 6 million people a year.
The Salt River project is the city’s attempt to bring an upscale hotel to the Salt Valley and attract tourists to the region, which has experienced a string of record-breaking heat waves.
The hotel will feature state-of-the-art facilities including luxury hotel suites and suites with private rooms, as well as a rooftop pool with spa and fitness facilities.
The new hotel will have a maximum occupancy of 20,000 guests, and Leavatt said the city expects the hotel to attract a diverse group of travelers, including first-time hotel guests and veterans.
Leavitt also said the Salt City Convention Center would open a year earlier than planned, so that the city would be able to hire a large contingent of hotel workers to help with construction.
The council approved the $1 billion hotel deal with Salt Lake Economic Development, and a federal loan was secured.
Leavit said the project will cost about $500 million, and the Salt Rivers Development Corporation will oversee the hotel.
The plan calls for building the hotel in two phases: Phase 1 will bring in about 50,000 hotel guests a year, including about 50 percent veterans.
The second phase will open in 2020, and construction will begin in 2021.
The first phase of the hotel is expected at least one year ahead of schedule.
The Salt River Center will open its doors to visitors this fall, with the hotel and convention center expected to open by 2020, according, according.