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Sat, May 30

New Grand Canyon concessions contract addresses trademarks, employee housing and renovations

The El Tovar Lodge and restaurant on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. File Photo

The El Tovar Lodge and restaurant on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. File Photo

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - On Feb. 13 Grand Canyon National Park released its revised concession contract and put it out for bids.

The 15 year contract will replace the current one year contract held by Grand Canyon concessionaire Xanterra South Rim, L.L.C. Concession contracts are awarded by the park and are responsible for lodging, food and beverage, retail, transportation and other services within the park.

In October 2014 Xanterra sued the park over the concession contract over the contract's unfair increase in franchise fees, inadequate employee housing and said the contract had the potential to raise visitor entrance fees to the Canyon.

After the lawsuit, the park did not receive bids on the 15-year contract and the park and Xanterra signed a temporary one-year contract that expires at the end of the year.

The park's newest revisions to the 15 year contract include changes in the franchise fee from a 14 percent fee to an 8 to 6.4 percent fee, an increase in employee housing from 990 to 1,010 capacity, an extended start date on construction projects on the Maswik South Lodge and an updated Leasehold Surrender Interest (LSI) from $56,950,924 to $59,397,765.

The park addressed claims from Xanterra's lawsuit in Xanterra's one-year contract for inadequate employee housing by assigning additional housing at Pinyon Park mobile home as well as other family housing units. The park also allotted $500,000 to allow for additional housing expenses both in and out of the park. The contract states that the park does not guarantee concessionaires that it will provide housing for all concession employees within the park.

Renovation projects addressed in the contract include the replacement of the Maswik South Lodge complex, improvements to the Bright Angel Lodge and the El Tovar Lodge patio and implementation of mobile food service vehicles.

According to the associated press, Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga is confident the park has struck the appropriate balance in the contract to create successful opportunities that will profit the park, concessionaire and the public.

Additionally, the contract addressed the recent application by Xanterra for trademarks on over 16 different lodges and sites in the park.

On Jan. 12 the park advised - by letter, for Xanterra to reconsider the applications since the park 'considers the marks in use by Xanterra as property of the (park) service protected pursuant to common law trademark rights.' According to the contract, the park requested Xanterra abandon all trademark applications.

In the contract the park said many of the decisions for changes were based on the park's recognition that it needed to offer a 'very attractive opportunity after issuing three prior prospectuses that received no responsive proposals.' A one-day site visit is scheduled for interested bidders on Thursday, March 5. The closing bid for the contract is May 20.

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