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Local and State Dignitaries Break Ground on First Mayflower Hotel Construction Project

Leslie Thatcher/KPCW News

On Wednesday, a crowd of some 200 state, county and local officials gathered under a large tent at the site of the Mayflower Morale, Welfare and Recreation conference hotel for the official groundbreaking of the first piece of Mayflower Mountain Resort.


The facility will be ready to welcome active and retired military service members as soon as 2023.


Holding traditional mining pickaxes, former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, Extell CEO Gary Barnett, Utah Senate President Stuart Adams, Air Force Col. Jenise Carroll and Wasatch County Councilor Steve Farrell ceremoniously posed for the groundbreaking.


The finished hotel will include 387 hotel rooms – 100 of those reserved for military personnel, along with 55 private residences and some 60,000 square feet of conference space. The project is spread out over 640,000 square feet in total.


Given the military backbone of the hotel, the ceremony included a color guard presentation, the pledge of allegiance, the singing of both the National Anthem and three verses of America the Beautiful.


Adams welcomed the crowd, saying it was an exciting day that was a long time coming after finally getting a new military recreation complex built after the former Hill Haus at Snowbasin Resort was torn down to make way for the 2002 Winter Olympics.


The Military Installation Development Authority (MIDA), which currently boasts of having the two largest economic development projects in the state, was created in 2007. Those projects are Hill Air Force Base and the Mayflower Mountain Resort - a $3 billion development. Adams said after looking at as many as 30 different sites for the new facility, they settled on the property in Wasatch County.


“We think we are in the best site, not only in this area, but we also think we chose the best site in this state, and very likely the best site in the world,” Adams said.


Adams also said after going through a rigorous request for proposal process to decide who would get to develop the property, MIDA selected Extell Development Company out of New York City.


“As we went through that process, and again, a very, very, long process, we think we have Extell, the best developer in the entire world,” he said.


Barnett said he’s proud to be developing the first new mountain resort in America in 40 years.


Seven years ago, he started with a 40-acre piece of property off U.S. 40 and since then has amassed more than 7,000 acres.


None of this, he says, would have happened without the support of state Sens. Adams and Jerry Stevenson, as well as the entire state of Utah. 


“My team in Utah led by Kurt Kreig has worked really hard to get us here, and I'm proud to have him represent Extell,” Barnett said. “Utah has been blessed with some of nature's most special land. We hope that from the grace of God, and the help of everyone here, we'll be able to join hands and build another jewel for people of Utah and the nature lovers and skiers from around the world.”


Barnett also reported that the $20 million voluntary cleanup of the old mining property was almost done and that they continue to meet with Deer Valley Resort to see if they can come to terms with a partnership deal.


Farrell, the only elected representative from Wasatch County on the MIDA board, says Barnett has done more than any of them imagined.


“Mr. Barnett’s vision for this far surpasses the original vision,” Farrell said.


Colonel Jenise Carroll, Commander of the 75th Air Base Wing at Hill Air Force Base, said that once built, the MWR will be a welcome respite for military service members and their families.


“This represents for the men and women military and their families, just a key cornerstone of a facility Morale, Welfare and Recreation facility, that they can come to whether they come to ski or whether they were returning from a deployment,” she said. “It is an amazing opportunity that we can now enjoy in Utah. So, I'm just very proud to be a part of history in the making.”


Jacobsen Construction, the general contractor, expects to complete construction of the MWR conference hotel in 30 months, with the grand opening slated for December 2023. The hotel’s construction is expected to cost about $390 million.

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