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Hotel Cascada to get $5 million facelift

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Albuquerque’s Hotel Cascada at Carlisle and Interstate 40 will be renamed the Wyndham Hotel & Conference Center in late May. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Come May 31, the Wyndham flag will fly above Albuquerque’s Hotel Cascada.

The 300-room property, at Carlisle and Interstate 40, will be renamed the Wyndham Hotel & Conference Center in late May following the hotel’s first phase of remodeling, which is part of a $5 million sprucing up.

The changes, including the name of the new owner, were announced Tuesday by Albuquerque-based Peak Hospitality, which is managing the construction and changeover.

The renovation will include a redesigned lobby, upgrades to meeting and guest rooms, a new 1,100-square-foot fitness center and other upgrades, such as new beds, extensive landscaping and exterior and interior painting.

“Since the hotel’s construction in 1972, the property has become one of Albuquerque’s most recognized landmarks even as it has gone through several identities and renovations,” said Theodore Barela, CEO at Peak Hospitality. “As New Mexico natives who have seen the transformations this hotel has gone through, we’re excited to see this property shine as the renovations progress to make it one of Albuquerque’s premier hotels and conference centers.”

Barela said the new owner is Sanjiv Chopra, an Oakland, Calif.-based proprietor of the Fitness Evolution chain of health and fitness centers, who’s from a family of hoteliers. Chopra acquired the property after the hotel hit the auction block last summer. The final sales price was not disclosed, but the starting bid on Cascada was $2.25 million, according to online real-estate website Ten-X.

The property includes two four-story buildings, over 30,000 square feet of conference space and an indoor water park with five pool areas in a 30,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the hotel. Renovations call for a new separate entrance to the water park.

The former owner, Park City-based Gemstone Hotels & Resorts, injected $4.7 million of renovations when it acquired Cascada in 2010, according to the prospectus. Formerly called the Park Inn by Radisson & Water Park, real-estate records show the 11-acre property is valued at $7.1 million by Bernalillo County.

Barela said the relaunched property is targeting 40 percent of future business from groups and conventions, 30 percent from corporate travelers, about 5 percent from airline personnel staying overnight in Albuquerque, and the rest from leisure travelers.

“In terms of the corporate traveler, we feel we will get an edge there with Wyndham Hotel Group and their distribution network,” said Barela. That network, in exchange for a one-time application fee and annual franchise fee, will give the Albuquerque property access to all the accounts with companies negotiated by Wyndham’s national sales team.

“Obviously, the new owner’s goal is that the brand, through its reservation system, will put heads in beds,” said Barela. “If you look at all the hotels in Albuquerque, generally those with national brands operate at higher occupancy levels because they’ve got the benefit of frequent-traveler programs and national reservation systems.”

Barela said once occupancy levels hit a certain benchmark, employment will rise at the new hotel, which currently has 135 employees. In the next five or six months, he said Peak will recruit for leadership positions at the property to enhance staff development.

Barela expects minimal disruptions during renovations. “Certain floors and areas will be sectioned off, but the hotel will remain open. Perhaps we’ll run a ‘hard hat’ special,” he offered.

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