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OREM HOTEL SNAGS MAY BE RESOLVED

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While nearly 60 percent of the local population seems to think it's a good idea to put a high-rise hotel at the mouth of Provo Canyon, it may not happen simply because the developer may not put his money where the mouth is.

But Orem City Manager Michael Dyal says the matter is coming to resolution "probably by early January." The City Council met with the developer - John Q. Ham- mons - two weeks ago in closed session to discuss "a couple of issues" and came away with some new information, said Dyal.Hammons, listed as the 376th richest man in America with a net worth of $300 million, appears through a series of news stories in a variety of newspapers as the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde hotelier of the 21st century.

In one account, the writer goes on about the abundance of buildings and fountains and restaurants and streets named after Hammons in Springfield, Mo. - so many that Bob Hope once quipped that the city should be renamed "Ham- mons, Mo."

In another, Hammons is donating land for the center for performing arts at Southwest Missouri University - to be named after his wife, Juanita K. Hammons - and donating funds to create a hall of fame for baseball greats.

He is expected to solve a cash- flow problem in a situation in Kansas where a partnership deal left contractors, the local school district and the local Lutheran brotherhood unpaid for their contributions.

But at the same time, the performing-arts center shows a $7 million overrun that state investigators want to ask Hammons about.

The delays encountered in the development of a riverboat enterprise in Joliet, Mo., cost city officials there much in stress and political favor. Residents were forced to accept Harrah's as a partner in the gambling enterprise when Hammons couldn't come up with the financing he originally promised.

The bag is mixed but becoming more of a concern as Hammons' promises and detours in Orem push the seven-story luxury hotel past deadlines for formalizing the agreement with the city to begin construction.

Orem and Hammons are trying to hammer out a buy/lease partnership plan whereby the city will build a $9 million convention center as part of the hotel and Hammons will build the $17 million hotel.

Hammons missed both an August deadline and a subsequent November deadline for signing the agreement. He asked for a meeting with city officials this past month to discuss new options and has also met with Utah Valley State College officials to discuss the possibility of locating near the college.

Dick Chappell, administrative vice president of UVSC, said the college is not pursuing the option with Hammons but merely listening to his ideas.

"We don't expect it will go anywhere," said Chappell, although he said the college is always interested in talking about ventures that could contribute to the future success of the institution.

Originally, Hammons asked Provo City for permission to build his hotel, and when those officials failed to meet his expectations quickly enough he moved his plans to Orem.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Utah County poll

Do you agree or disagree with Orem City, decision to permit a high-rise hotel to be built at the mouth of Provo Canyon?

DEFINITELY AGREE 34%

PROBABLY AGREE 24%

PROBABLY DISAGREE 10%

DEFINITELY DISAGREE 17%

DON'T KNOW 15%

Poll conducted Dec. 5-10, 1994. Margin of error +/-4.01% on interviews of 401 registered voters. Conducted by Dan Jones & Associates. Copyright 1994 Deseret News. Dan Jones & Associates, an independent organization founded in 1980, polls for the Deseret News and KSL. Its clients include other organizations and some political candidates.