Truax Hotel breaks ground in Old Town Temecula

Truax Hotel executives, designers, contractors, builders and dignitaries pose for a photo Friday, Aug. 16, while breaking ground on the 190,000-square-foot luxury hotel which is planned to open in 2021. Jeff Pack photo

Bernie Truax had the look of a man both relieved and excited to be embarking on construction of the $135 million Truax Hotel that will be located on the southern end of Old Town Temecula when it opens sometime in the year 2021.

After addressing a crowd of about 100 friends, family, partners and dignitaries during the hotel groundbreaking celebration event Friday, Aug. 16, he reflected on the speech he gave about how long it has taken to get to the point of starting construction on the project.

“It really made me think of a lot of stuff; it really has been 20 years,” Truax said. “This morning, I’m coming down the hill, and I’m listening to 50s music and I started thinking – I live on a beautiful ranch and I’ve reached all my dreams – I’ve been a cowboy, I’ve been in the cattle business and I’m thinking, ‘God, this is really great, I’m finishing up right.’

“It occurred to me that the young man who dreamed all those dreams, started back then listening to 50s music – and the 70-year-old finishing those dreams is still listening to 50s music,” Truax said.

Truax told the audience the story of when the idea to develop someday a luxury hotel in a burgeoning Old Town Temecula came to be in the early to mid-1990s.

“Well, what would we put here? What would we put downtown?” Truax said. “To have a real downtown, you need a lot of parts. Office space is one of the parts, and residential space and retail space and nightclubs, restaurants, shopping, city hall … hotel. That list was discussed way back in the beginning when the city made the commitment, and without that commitment, we wouldn’t be standing here. To do city hall downtown, that’s the anchor tenant that makes a town work.

“This community is very blessed. We have had a great civic community, and civic service and a council in this town which has developed this beyond all the rest of them in the valley. We’ve never missed an opportunity in this town to do the right thing,” he said.

Before his speech, dignitaries and members of the design and construction companies tasked with taking on the project congratulated the Truax team.

Speaking at the event were Temecula City Council members Zak Schwank, Matt Rahn and James Stewart; Temecula City Manager Aaron Adams; Visit Temecula Valley President and CEO Kimberly Adams; Glenn Miller, district director for Sen. Jeff Stone; Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez; Casey Dailey from the Western Riverside Council of Governments; Joseph Holasek from the NOAA Group Architects, Dan Dalry, executive vice president at Davis Reed Construction Inc., and Christopher Alan, founder of Dasher Lawless.

Dasher Lawless will design and build the 510-spot, fully automated parking garage, called The Truax Carriage House. Davis Reed Construction will serve as the general contractor for the project.

The design style of the 190,000-square-foot destination facility is called, “Turn of the Century Design,” and will honor the area’s historic Western past while embracing a vibrant future, according to a project fact sheet.

The four-star hotel will also have banquet and conference facilities, health club, luxury spa services, boutique shops, a bar and lounge and four dining experiences and will feature architectural elements such as walkways, water features, a rooftop patio, pool, spa, wedding venue and outdoor spaces.

The hotel will have 185 sleeping rooms and 13 suites. The hotel will part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection and will be operated by Evolution.

“As some of you probably know, we actually threw one hotel in the trash,” Truax said. “We had this done and ready to go a while ago, but it just wasn’t the right hotel. It wasn’t right, and I’m not about building things that aren’t right. My dad, God bless him, taught me if you’re going to do it, do it once, do it right. And so, I believe we’ve done that now.”

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