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PHOENIX-Construction will begin next month on the $300-million Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, the largest resort to ever be built in Arizona.

Maryland-based Marriott International Inc. and CNL Hospitality Corp. will build the 950-room resort in the master planned community of Desert Ridge in north Phoenix, near the border of the upscale suburb of Scottsdale.

“The addition of Desert Ridge continues our long-standing commitment to the Valley,” said company Chairman J.W. Marriott in a released statement.

On the drawing boards for more than two years, the Desert Ridge Resort & Spa will be the largest in the state, surpassing the 730-room Arizona Biltmore.

Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, scheduled for opening by November 2002, will include a five-story hotel building, a 28,000-sf spa, a full range of restaurants, eight tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course design by Nick Faldo. An 18-hole Arnold Palmer-designed course already exists on the site.

The resort will have a contemporary Southwestern design. Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is being designed by San Francisco-based architect Mark Hornberger, who designed the Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale.

The resort will be built east of Tatum Boulevard near Deer Valley Road, just south of the existing Wildfire golf course.

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