Bellingham poised for more hotels, hundreds of additional rooms

Bellingham poised for more hotels, hundreds of additional rooms
A La Quinta Inn on Bakerview Road in Bellingham under development in May 2013. Several new hotels are expected to open in Bellingham over the next few years. (Evan Marczynski Photo | The Bellingham Business Journal)

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Filed on 20. Oct, 2013 in Features, New Business

As one new hotel opens in Bellingham, the list of others ready to enter the local market keeps growing.

A 122-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott opened on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 4040 Northwest Ave. The hotel, which has been in development for more than five years, is owned and managed by 360 Hotel Group, based in Lynnwood, Wash.

Across the street, construction is set to begin on a new four-story, 105-room Home2 Suites by Hilton at 805 Home Lane. Erck Hotels of Missoula, Mont., is the project’s developer.

Just about a block to the north, on Bakerview Road, an 81-room La Quinta Inn is expected to open before year’s end. A little further away, a 150-160 room Holiday Inn should begin construction by next May on land next to the Bellingham International Airport.

And this summer, Sycan B. Corp. and InnSight Hotel Management, two firms from Springfield, Ore., submitted a proposal to the Port of Bellingham’s three-member elected commission, seeking to build a hotel within a 10.8-acre site on Bellingham’s waterfront, for which the port is currently seeking a master developer.

Visitors to Whatcom County spent almost $163 million on local hotels and motels in 2012, an increase of more than 50 percent from spending levels in 2002, according to a report by Dean Runyan Associates.

The new developments will add hundreds of hotel rooms in Bellingham within the next few years.

The SpringHill Suites on Northwest Avenue will attempt to attract both leisure and business travelers, Shaiza Damji, managing director for 360 Hotel Group, told The Bellingham Business Journal in June.

The hotel features amenities that cater to both, including rooms with separate living, working and sleeping areas, Wi-Fi and high-speed Internet access, laundry services, a fitness center and a shuttle service with trips to the Bellingham airport.

The property also holds a fourth-floor terrace that can be reserved for private parties, as well as 1,700 square feet of meeting-room space.

360 Hotel Group’s SpringHill Suites is the first phase of a development that will eventually include a second hotel next door, an 83-room TownePlace Suites, which is also a Marriott brand.

Damji said the TownePlace Suites, which markets to extended-stay guests, could start initial development within the next six months. Both Marriott hotels would be managed jointly, she said.

On the other side of the street, the future Home2 Suites by Hilton could be completed by next summer, said Dustan Williams, CEO of its developer, Erck Hotels.

Williams said Home2 Suites focus on “ecologically friendly” features, including add-ons such as electric-car charging stations (which the SpringHill Suites also features), that he believes will make it a popular choice for travelers to the area.

“I think it’s a good fit for Bellingham,” Williams said.

The hotel will be about 56,000 square feet in size, and its current plans include an indoor pool, fitness center, breakfast-service space and a game room. Williams said the project’s total valuation should be around $14 million.

The Home2 Suites will cater to business travelers, and it will employ between 25-35 people, Williams said.

In addition to the hotel, Erck Hotels plans to either sell or lease about one acre of its available property, in hopes of attracting a new restaurant or retail business, he added.

Erck was one of four firms that submitted proposals to the Port of Bellingham in fall 2012 for a hotel development site across the street from the Bellingham International Airport.

The firm ultimately chosen, Hotel Services Group LLC of Mount Vernon, will build its Holiday Inn on a port-owned plot of land within walking distance to the airport’s terminal.

A lease agreement between the developer and the port requires the Holiday Inn open its doors for business by Nov. 15, 2015. But Dan Mitzel, chairman of Hotel Services Group, told port commissioners in June that he would hope to complete the project before the busy summer travel season in 2015.

Evan Marczynski, staff reporter for The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or evan@bbjtoday.com.

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bGk+PHN0cm9uZz53b29fc2xpZGVyX2hlYWRpbmc8L3N0cm9uZz4gLSBSZWNlbnQgbmV3czwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX3RoZW1lbmFtZTwvc3Ryb25nPiAtIFRoZSBKb3VybmFsPC9saT48L3VsPg==