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Mt. Lemmon Hotel pushes forward despite setbacks in 2020

Posted at 12:45 PM, Dec 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-24 14:45:14-05

SUMMERHAVEN, Ariz. — Construction delays, a wildfire evacuation and a pandemic -- despite the challenges, Mt. Lemmon Hotel is hoping to start checking people in by March.

Crews broke ground back in April. They soon had to deal with a high water table, parts of foundation from the old Alpine Lodge, and an entire bridge buried under the property.

“It was a little bit of an archaeological dig that we weren’t expecting,” said Mt. Lemmon Hotel Owner Justin Hafner.

Hafner wishes those had been his biggest problems.

“Definitely a learning experience for us," he said. "Our original projection was to open July 4th, and timelines have come and gone.”

The Bighorn Fire forced evacuations and set construction back for months. Then the pandemic caused shortages in material and interruptions in labor.

“We’ve had a few different construction workers get COVID,” he said. “That shuts us down each time for a couple weeks.”

Despite all the setbacks, Hafner says they’ve been able to keep the project moving forward and are hoping to open by March. He says each cabin will provide a family with everything they need for a night’s stay on the mountain.

“Fully stocked with towels, pans, dishes, things you’d need to cook, TV, couch,” he said.

An affordable price range and cabins that happen to allow for social distancing should be attractive for those looking for a quick getaway.

“People want privacy, they want to bring their kids, bring their pets," Hafner said. "We’ll fill that niche that isn’t really available for visitors here to Summerhaven.”

Hafner says he’s proud to be bringing people something good after a hard year.

“Things that are good generally don’t come easy, so we are in it for the long haul," he said.