SUNRISE, FL-Sawgrass Hotel Inc. is getting a holiday gift early, but the present may benefit the donor as well. This Broward County city has taken the unusual step of approving a $300,000 interest-free loan to Sawgrass to speed up the start of construction on a 400-room Marriott hotel across from the National Car Rental Center sports and entertainment facility. Estimated project cost is $22 million or $55,000 per room.

The developer will receive a cash advance to begin work within 30 days of receiving the funds. The loan must be repaid within 20 months of receiving the money. An affiliate of the same firm is also building a Marriott in Miami Beach that has run into construction delays and set back the timetable for starting the local project.

Sunrise authorities are providing the loan because the city needs more hotel rooms to serve burgeoning local office and retail construction, as well as the sports teams and entertainers using the National Car Rental Center.

The city has just approved another hotel in the area, the 250-room Crowne Plaza at Sawgrass. A third hotel, an Embassy Suites, has also been proposed.

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