PHOENIX (Dec. 17, 2009) — The Phoenix City Council has paved the way for two new hotel brands in the city’s downtown core. 

The council on Wednesday approved a pair of agenda items that will (1) facilitate development of a 280-room Westin in new downtown tower and (2) allow a 520-room hotel located a block away from the Phoenix Convention Center to be rebranded a Marriott Renaissance.

The latter hotel, currently operating as the Wyndham Phoenix, will get a 20-year tax discount in exchange for improvements and rebranding. The hotel’s owners will use the tax savings to make $10 million worth of upgrades to the property, capping a $40 million renovation that began in 2005. The fully renovated hotel would be operated under Marriott’s Renaissance flag.

Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the rebranding likely would bring more meetings and conventions to the newly expanded Phoenix Convention Center because of Marriott’s group-sales expertise.

“Wyndham has been a great partner for the CVB and the city, but Marriott will be an even better partner,” Moore said in an address to the city council Wednesday. “We will no doubt benefit from the reach and reputation of Marriott’s convention-sales capabilities.”

Jason Harris, deputy director of Phoenix’s economic-development department, said the deal approved by council is expected to generate $96 million in tax revenue over the life of the agreement.

The Wyndham is owned by Phoenix Hotel Ventures LLC, a corporate entity headed by Steve Cohn.

Marriott International has more than 3,200 lodging properties located in the United States and 66 other countries and territories. But the management company has never flown its banner in downtown Phoenix.

“Phoenix is one of a very few major metropolitan areas that does not have a Marriott presence in its downtown,” Moore said. “We look forward to that changing.”

The city council approved a similar deal for the Westin, which is to occupy about half of the floors in the 26-story One Central Park East Office Building, three blocks from the convention center. In addition to the hotel rooms, a new entrance and a pool deck will be added to the upscale tower.

The building, which plans to change its name to Freeport-McMoRan Center, had a 25-year tax reduction worth about $23 million. With the addition of the Westin, council approved extending that agreement to 50 years.

“The city council has a clear vision for downtown Phoenix,” Moore said. “This is the same council that, within a year of approving a $600 million expansion of the convention center, said yes to funding and building a 1,000-room downtown Sheraton. They get it.”