The resort was expected to set itself apart from neighboring
hotels by its luxury and convention center's capacity.
"We've exceeded our expectations," General Manager Cormac
O'Modhrain said. "We've outperformed our original forecast for the
resort in its first year. I think the city should be relatively
pleased with us."
Money from the Hyatt is pouring into the city, like a ray of light
in a year darkened by budget reductions, cuts in state funding and
other financial burdens.
The resort provides four sources of income to the city: a hotel
bed tax, sales tax, ground rent payment and about $1.8 million in
property taxes, said David Biggs, the city's director of economic
Huntington anticipated making $1 million in property taxes, but
that number jumped when the property was reassessed.
The city, which expected to make about $700,000 in bed tax in the
first year, will receive at least $1.5 million this year, 40% of
which goes to the city and 60% to the redevelopment agency.
Sales tax revenue was anticipated to be $160,000, Biggs said, and
while he couldn't give an exact number, he estimated that the city
could get as much as $500,000 in sales tax. The city also received
$25,000 in ground rent payment, which will increase to $75,000 in
2004 and $150,000 in 2005.
In 2005, the city will also be eligible to collect 3% of the
resort's gross room revenue.
Sales tax has been double what the city expected, and restaurants
Downtown have seen increased business, Biggs said.
"I'd definitely say it's a homerun, after not even a full year
out," Biggs said, adding that if the Hyatt wasn't so successful, the
city would have had to cut even deeper into its general fund.
While the hotel targeted mainly leisure guests during the summer,
it's off-season market was focused on business. On average, the Hyatt
has hosted one large business convention per week all year,
O'Modhrain said. The large conventions, he said, usually consist of
more than 100 people and draw revenues in excess of $100,000.
The 15-acre Andalusian-style resort boasts 110,000 square feet of
meeting and function space, 517 luxurious guestrooms, three