Real Estate News: Hotel developers, city of Fort Collins working on plan for 300-space parking structure

  FORT COLLINS — City officials and developers of a proposed hotel in parking-challenged downtown Fort Collins are discussing the possibility of sharing the cost of building a three-level, 300-space parking structure next to the hotel

Several in attendance Thursday evening at a neighborhood meeting for the project expressed they wanted the largest parking structure possible to be built.

Jeff Mihelich, Fort Collins’ deputy city manager and chief operating officer, told the 45 people attending the meeting Thursday evening that the city is very interested in helping developers build the structure that would have 100 spaces designated for the hotel and 200 spaces for public use.

Fort Collins-based Bohemian Cos., Loveland-based McWhinney Real Estate Services Inc., and Sage Hospitality in Denver plus other investors are teaming to build the five-story, 162-room Fort Collins Hotel at 354 Walnut St. The site is bordered by Walnut, Mountain, Jefferson and Chestnut streets. It nestles up to, but is not included in the Old Town Historic District and the city’s River District, which recently updated its design rules.

Preliminary plans called for a 98-space surface parking lot next to the hotel at 363 Jefferson St. That number would meet the city’s requirements for a hotel that size, said Seth Lorson, a city planner who is the point man for moving the project through the planning process.

Matt Robenalt, executive director of Fort Collins’ Downtown Development Authority, which builds public-private investment partnerships to benefit the central business district, said the DDA is ready to explore a partnership. Following the meeting, Stu MacMillan, Bohemian Cos. director of real estate and a member of the city’s Parking Advisory Board, said the developers are very interested in working a deal to provide more parking.

Lou Bieker of Denver-based 4240 Architecture who will serve as the lead architect, said the design will blend with the character of existing buildings , such as the Mitchell Building across the street, but with a modern twist. While specific details of exterior design have not been determined, he said in general the design will feature richly detailed uses of stone and brick. “We envision it as a grandiose building serving as a beacon,” he said. The ownership group has not selected a hotel brand, but Bieker said whichever brand is selected it will not influence the building’s design.

McWhinney recently submitted documents to the city for a preliminary design review that show approximately 3,500 square feet of ballroom/meeting space. A floor plan shows a 2,500-square-foot ballroom and two 580-square-foot meeting rooms. Plans also show a 3,100-square-foot restaurant, 3,100 square feet of retail space, a 1,500-square-foot rooftop bar, but those dimensions could be adjusted, Bieker said.

Lorson said the developers need to submit plans to the city by June 23, and city staff will begin reviewing plans July 8. The city council could approve plans by Sept. 10.

Cole Evans, a project analyst for McWhinney, said it would take about 12 months to construct the hotel. “We would like to begin construction in the first quarter of 2016 and open in 2017,” Evans said.

Representatives of Sage Hospitality, which will operate the hotel and set room rates, did not attend the meeting.
Source(s): BizWest,  June 11, 2015, by Doug Storum

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