The Tempe Aloft is getting there - aloft, that is.
The five-story, 136-room hotel is rising from the north shores of Tempe Town Lake so rapidly, it likely will be welcoming guests by Feb. 1, said TriYar Hospitality CEO Michael Mahoney.
That's two months before its scheduled opening date, and less than 14 months after the hotel's groundbreaking.
Los Angeles-based TriYar is building the first Arizona version of the upscale, limited-service brand, often dubbed "W light" by tourism industry leaders.
Hotel giant Starwood, which owns the W and Aloft brands, said the latter was designed as "a vision of W Hotels."
Aloft features loft-inspired guest rooms with such signature items as lots of wood decor, platform beds, oversized showers and cutting-edge technology.
The hotel's living room-coffeehouse-style lobby by day is designed to become a buzzing bar scene at night, Mahoney said.
A building boom that has gone bust this year has caused top construction contractors to court TriYar, which is also building the W Scottsdale Hotel & Residences, Mahoney said.The sudden availability of coveted subcontractors and raw materials propelled the Tempe project into high gear, he said.
The first Aloft, which Starwood describes as "high design at an affordable price point, accessible technology, style and a social atmosphere," opened in June in Montreal.
A Beijing Aloft and three U.S. versions of the hotel have opened since the Montreal launch, and Starwood said it will have 18 Alofts open this year and 50 by the end of 2009.
The Aloft Tempe is the first of four local versions slated to open in 2009. A Phoenix hotel at 44th and Washington streets, near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, is scheduled to open in March, a Chandler version at Price and Queen Creek roads is pegged for a Sept. 1, 2009 debut. A West Valley version is expected to open in June.
Mahoney said Aloft is designed to appeal to "younger, more price-sensitive travelers who want the high-tech, but not for $400," which a W room would cost.
The brand is expected to be a big hit with the business bunch, he said.
Tempe is thrilled to get the first Arizona Aloft and one of the first in the world, said Michael Martin, executive vice president of the Tempe Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"Aloft is an exciting new trend in urban, chic hotels, and we like to see that in Tempe," Martin said. "It shows the marketability of Tempe."Martin said he hopes it inspires even more hip, trendy hotels to debut in the city's downtown and lake side districts.
"We've had no real new hotel construction in 10 years," he said.
TriYar also expects to build a Scottsdale Aloft. Mahoney would only say the company is in negotiations for a site, but he wouldn't say where it is.