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SPOKANE, WA-Representatives for Azteca Restaurant Enterprises Inc. have met with city planners to discuss the possibility of putting a $16 million, 129,000-sf hotel at the site of its existing Downtown eatery near Division and Spokane Falls Boulevard.

The restaurant would remain on the first floor of the 14-story facility, while the hotel rooms would be situated on floors three through 14 and meeting rooms clustered on the second floor. Plans also call for a four-story parking structure.

“It’s was real hard to tell how serious they were, but they weren’t being vague,” city planner Steve Haynes tells GlobeSt.com. “They’ve apparently been thinking about this for quite some time.”

Azteca’s plans, reportedly in the works for at least a year, could pose a potential conflict with one site proposed for the city’s expanded convention center. Two parcels have been earmarked for that facility, one south of the existing convention center on Spokane Falls Boulevard and the other on the current Azteca property, also on Spokane Falls Boulevard.

Azteca representatives told The Spokesman Review earlier this week they hope the convention center site selected will be expanded to the south so their facility would be well positioned to benefit from its business.

Voters in May approved measures that moved forward plans to expand the convention center. Long concerned the city will lose market share and revenue dollars if it is unable to compete with larger facilities throughout the Northwest, Spokane officials have been pushing for the Convention Center expansion.

Current plans now call for increasing exhibit space from 38,722 sf to 100,000 sf, increasing the size of the facility’s ballroom from 18,000 to 30,000 sf and adding a parking lot.

Construction cost estimates range from about $80 million to $90 million.

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