John Gardiner, owner of Gardiner Properties, LLC, gave a presentation about the new Wyndham resort at the Atomic Grill and Lounge on Wednesday, Feb. 20. [Photo by Kevin D. Brydie / Moab Sun News]

Developers excited to announce progress being made on a 16-acre site for a future Worldmark by Wyndham resort broke ground with a local cyclist catching some air at the ceremony.

Officials from Wyndham Destinations held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, February 20, with Gardiner Properties, LLC, and Zwick Construction. Local cyclist River Martucci jumped over the new construction site at 1435 N. U.S. Highway 191 as recognition from officials of the Moab area’s popularity as a mountain biking destination. The new resort is expected to be completed at the end of 2020.

A press release from Wyndham and Gardiner said Moab is one of the most-requested new destinations of WorldMark owners because of its close proximity to Arches and Canyonlands national parks. The company said it has nearly 90,0000 owners worldwide.

John Gardiner, owner of Gardiner Properties, gave a presentation at the Atomic Grill and Lounge on Feb. 20 about the project. He recognized and thanked Colin Fryer, the owner of Red Cliffs Lodge, who sold the land for the development.

Gardiner said the new resort will feature a large open space and walking trails. He said the project will be “a lot more than just a sea of asphalt parking lot with a hotel plopped in the middle. It will be very different than that for this community.”

Gardiner described the design as being iconic, mid-century modern with desert Southwest architecture compatible with the surrounding Moab landscape.

“We’re excited to be here in Moab,” Gardiner said.

Grand County Building Inspector Jeff Whitney said county officials reviewed the plans for the project in 2018 for compliance with code requirements.

“It’s a pretty big project,” Whitney said. He said the proposed plans included about five buildings involved in the project for a club, meeting spaces, residential buildings and mechanical operations.

Wyndham said the Moab resort “will be the largest development project in Moab history and will be designed to complement the natural features of the region.”

“Based on our research, it is currently the largest in terms of square footage and investment, even though we aren’t disclosing the investment publicly,” Steven Goldsmith, director of public relations for Wyndham Destinations, told the Moab Sun News.

The buildings on the property will be a total of about 260,000-square foot, he said.

Unlike an independent developer, Wyndham is a public company that does not disclose its investments, Goldsmith said in response to a question about why the company isn’t disclosing the dollar amount of the investment in to the Moab community.

Goldsmith said locals are being employed in the construction process.

“A significant amount of the construction is subcontracted to Moab-based contractors, with approximately 45 area residents,” Goldsmith said. “At peak construction, there will be around 200 personnel onsite for several months.”

Once the building project is complete, Wyndham will purchase units at the resort from Gardiner Properties and will manage the sales and marketing of vacation ownership, resort operations and timeshare homeowners’ association management, a press release said.

The companies recently partnered to develop a Wyndham resort in Park City. Similar to other destinations in the companies’ portfolio of 90 resorts, it expects to offer walk-in rentals to the “average Joe” who doesn’t own a timeshare.

“We’ll share rental opportunities in Moab as we get closer to opening,” Goldsmith said.

The resort will boast more than 150 condo-style units with one to three bedroom units as well as WorldMark Presidential suites featuring two-, three- and four-bedroom suites, the press release said. Other amenities will include a pool and a sales gallery.

Goldsmith said Wyndham Destinations is an independent company that spun off to the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts brand last year. He said there are three hotels on Main Street in Moab under the Wyndham Hotels banner — Days Inn, La Quinta and Super 8.

While the resort is marketed as a premier destination to Arches and Canyonlands national parks as “the only Utah destination where visitors can experience two of ‘The Mighty 5’ national parks,” the resort does not have plans to offer a shuttle service to its guests who desire to visit Arches and Canyonlands national parks.

“When we open the resort, we’ll evaluate the needs of our guests and determine whether a shuttle is desired,” Goldsmith said.

Michael Liss, chair of the ad-hoc Moab Transit Authority Study Committee, said the committee is currently in the process of preparing an Arches National Park shuttle proposal for consideration by the Grand County Council and the National Park Service, which would likely travel along U.S. Highway 191 and pick up visitors from various parking lots and hotels so that people on vacation without a personal vehicle can travel into the parks.

Elaine Gizler, executive director of the Moab Area Travel Council, said the travel council is looking forward to working with the new resort.

“Once the details are confirmed with the new property, we will meet with the management and also have a site inspection,” Gizler said on March 5. “The travel council office supports each of our businesses. We value their working relationship.”

16-acre site future home of vacation timeshare

“It’s a pretty big project.”