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ARCHIVED  March 1, 1996

Hotels spring up throughout Northern Colorado

The six new hotels in Larimer and Weld counties currently in various stages of completion or planning suggest a high level of confidence among hotel investors that the area’s business and leisure economies are stable and growing.
When completed, collective construction costs will represent a $17.7 million investment, according to figures supplied by the development entities involved.
The hotels will be located in Brighton, Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland.
The Courtyard by Marriott Hotel plans a March opening in the OakRidge Business Park on Harmony Road and Lemay Avenue in Fort Collins. The 112-room lodging is being developed by the Everitt Cos. and Sitzman-Mitchell & Co., both of Fort Collins, and will be managed by the Marriott Corp., according to Stuart MacMillan, vice president of Everitt.
MacMillan said that a general population growth and “more business activity in this area” indicated a “strong need for more rooms in Northern Colorado.”
Supporting MacMillan’s statement is the city’s lodging-tax history, which shows a 62 percent increase in taxes collected in 1995 over those collected in 1990.
Everitt/Sitzman and Marriott also teamed to develop, own and manage the existing full-service, 232-room Marriott Hotel located on East Horsetooth Road.
“The rule of thumb is, whenever you run over 80 percent occupancy — and this city has been running that, not only in the Marriott – it’s time to consider more rooms,” explained David Shahriari, a general manager for Marriott Corp.
With $5 million in construction costs, The Courtyard is a “limited-service” hotel geared toward family and corporate travelers, while the existing Marriott includes convention and meeting facilities, Shahriari said.
Shahriari also revealed that Everitt/Sitzman and Marriott are “looking into” developing an extended-stay hotel in Fort Collins. It would have 90 rooms and could “possibly open in the next year or so,” Shahriari said.
This would give the development team three distinct types of inns in the Fort Collins area: a full-service hotel, a limited-service hotel and an extended-stay hotel, Shahriari said.
Interest in building a Hampton Inn was announced by The Northern Colorado Business Report in October 1995. At that time, the Summit Group, a South Dakota hotel-development company, had purchased from Everitt/Sitzman a site in the OakRidge Business Park on Harmony Road to construct the proposed 75-room, $2.5 million hotel.
Although several attempts to contact Summit officials for this article were not successful, Georgiana Deines, administrative assistant in the city’s current planning department, confirmed that development plans have been approved, and the next steps are to finalize a development agreement and utility plans before building permits can be issued.
In Greeley, a Holiday Inn Express plans a March opening. Developed, owned and operated by Tharaldson Enterprises of Fargo, N.D., the 64-room motel follows on the heels of Tharaldson’s Fairfield Inn, which opened in Greeley in September 1994.
Tharaldson’s two-pronged entry into the Greeley market exemplifies their philosophy of hotel development, said Jodi Baumgartner, advertising and public-relations coordinator for the company.
“A lot of times we enter a market with two or three hotels,” Baumgartner said, explaining that such a network of smaller hotels within a community can help fill rooms where a single large hotel might be harder to fill.
A franchised operation, the Holiday Inn Express seeks to fill accommodation and budget needs of family and corporate travelers, said Mark Knudson, also a Tharaldson official, who anticipates construction costs of $2.2 million to $2.4 million.
“The Fairfield Inn has done very well for us,” Knudson said. “If there’s room to build two or three on one site and the market is going to support it, we’re going to do it instead of waiting for someone else to do it and impact us from behind.”
Knudson revealed that Tharaldson has sites picked out in Colorado Springs, Westminster and Thornton and is “looking at” Fort Collins.
He added, “If you know of any good lenders out there, let me know.” He explained that Tharaldson had to obtain out-of-state financing for its projects after finding area lending a “bit stringent.”
A second Greeley motel, the Sleep Inn, anticipated a late February opening. Owned by sole proprietor and Greeley businessman Arlo Richardson, the $2 million, 61-room inn is Richardson’s first entry into the hotel market.
Dean Barrere, general manager of the Inn, said a market analysis showed [Richardson] that Greeley “needed some nice new rooms.”
Although 1995 figures were not yet available, Greeley’s lodging-tax history shows a 32 percent increase in 1994 collections over 1990.
The Hampton Inn, a $4 million, 80-room, three-story hotel, is slated to open Memorial Day or early summer in Loveland, said Gary Rohr of Stonebridge Development Corp. of Denver. Stonebridge and the McWhinney Group of Loveland will own and operate the hotel.
Rohr said their study showed a distinct lack of lodging facilities available for commercial guests traveling in the Loveland area along Interstate 25 and U.S. Highway 34, where Rocky Mountain Factory Stores is located.
Rohr cited a lot of competition among hoteliers to develop a hotel at that prime intersection. Rohr expects room rates to average $55 to $75.
As Brighton Lodging LLC, Stonebridge is developing the $2 million, 52-room Comfort Inn in Brighton. Rohr anticipates opening in April, with room rates averaging $45 to $60.
Brighton seemed “to lack a good, mid-priced community hotel,” Rohr said. That, coupled with the likelihood that the intended E-470 highway would come within three or four miles of the city, prompted Rohr to believe that Brighton will “grow over time.”
Currently, Brighton’s only lodging facility is the 44-room Super 8 Motel, owned by Senida Enterprises. Perry Shah, a Senida representative, confirmed that Senida has begun the process to acquire city approval to expand its facilities by 65 percent, or 44 rooms.
But, Shah said, the Brighton area is a “price-sensitive” region, and, while city approval is pending, his company will continue to assess demand and growth factors before making its final decision sometime this year.

The six new hotels in Larimer and Weld counties currently in various stages of completion or planning suggest a high level of confidence among hotel investors that the area’s business and leisure economies are stable and growing.
When completed, collective construction costs will represent a $17.7 million investment, according to figures supplied by the development entities involved.
The hotels will be located in Brighton, Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland.
The Courtyard by Marriott Hotel plans a March opening in the OakRidge Business Park on Harmony Road and Lemay Avenue in Fort Collins. The 112-room lodging is being developed by the…

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