|By Joe Estrella, The Idaho Statesman,
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Apr. 18, 2006 - The Linen District near Downtown Boise will
add a hotel component later this year, developer David Hale said
Monday. Hale is partnering with long-time hotelier Elizabeth Tullis --
a former partner in the Redfish Lake Lodge in Stanley -- to acquire the
Boise GuestLodge, a two-story, 48-unit travel lodge at the northeast
corner of 14th and Grove.
The facility will undergo a $2 million renovation before
reopening in late 2006 as The Modern Hotel, which Hale described as a
boutique facility featuring 41 rooms, five suites, a new exterior and
lobby, a new lounge and completely remodeled rooms and bathrooms. Terms
of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in
the next few weeks.
Observers believe the hotel will add to the vitality of an
area that until recently had been overlooked by the Downtown
development boom. "I understand that it's going to have the same
retro-theme that David (Hale) has been going for in the rest of the
Linen District," said Capital City Development Corp Executive Director
Phillip Kushlan. "It sounds pretty cool."
The Linen District, a six-block area on the western edge of
Downtown, is being touted as Boise's answer to Greenwich Village in New
York or the Pearl District in downtown Portland. The goal is to make
the Linen District a mecca for people attracted to the unconventional.
The redevelopment district (or area) would run from 13th Street west to
16th Street, and from Main Street south to Front Street.
Hale said Boise officials were impressed enough by his plans
that they suggested he draft a new zoning ordinance that allows
residential, retail and office projects in the area. The proposed
ordinance is still in the works, he said. The ordinance would also
govern each structure's height, architectural style, distance from the
curb and parking requirements.
Over the next few years, Hale wants to transform the current
industrial atmosphere of the area to one of condominiums, trendy
restaurants and art galleries that will attract consumers looking for
the offbeat. "The hotel will help bring the kind of people to the area
that I'm targeting: the creative class, the type of people looking for
a different experience in their lodging," Hale said.
Tullis said the new hotel will offer travelers a different
lodging "experience" than they could get at a more traditional hotel.
"I always thought that Boise needed a boutique hotel, one that offered
a more intimate alternative to your big box hotels," said Tullis, a
The Modern Hotel will borrow its name from a Nampa boarding
house operated by Tullis' grandparents. She said the boutique hotel
concept involves a small, intimate facility that does not have the
restaurants or gymnasium usually found in larger facilities. "That's
what's going to be different about our hotel, compared with big box
hotels that all seem to follow the same pattern," Tullis said.
The upgraded hotel will have a new lounge and modern lobby, as
well as wireless Internet access in each room, Tullis said. "We want a
hotel of comfort and character that meets the needs of the modern-day
traveler," she said. Moreover, the restaurants and shops located in the
Linen District will benefit from an uptick in consumer traffic in the
area, she said.
Bill Martin, who brought one of the first new businesses to the Linen District when he opened Metro Express Car Wash last year at 1301 Front St., agreed a new hotel will bring added consumer traffic "to an area where it's much needed." "Each new development will raise the bar for the district, and will make this area a better part of the city," he said. "And I think David Hale is a first-rate developer. He has a vision for the entire area, whereas most developers only look at one building or property."
Copyright (c) 2006, The Idaho Statesman, Boise
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