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Serious Illness of a Partner Forces Gateway Hospitality to Put Acreage and Mostly
 Finalized Plans for a 161 room Embassy Suites in Springfield, Oregon
 on the Market

By Randi Bjornstad, The Register-Guard, Eugene, Ore.McClatchy-Tribune Business News

Jan. 23, 2007 - SPRINGFIELD -- Plans to build an eight-story, 161-room Embassy Suites Hotel near the intersection of the Interstate 5 freeway and Belt Line Road in the Gateway area haven't changed, but ownership of the project probably will before construction gets under way.

Meanwhile, the developer of two other hotel projects in the same area says one, a 153-room Holiday Inn, remains on track for a spring 2008 opening. But the other, a 90-room TownePlace Suites hotel, is on hold.

Sperry Van Ness, a commercial real estate group, has sent out oversized postcards to announce it has put the 1-acre Embassy Suites Hotel parcel at 3540 Gateway St. on the market on behalf of its owners, the Gateway Hospitality limited liability corporation. Principals in the corporation come from Corvallis and Boise, according to information filed with the secretary of state's office. Gateway Hospitality paid $2.75 million for the property in 2005.

Verne Whittaker III, senior investment adviser with Sperry Van Ness, said the decision stemmed from "a serious health issue" facing one of the development partners.

"Because of that, they decided to make the project available to the development community and 'pass the baton' to a qualified developer," Whittaker said.

The property has been approved for development for an Embassy Suites' Hotel by its parent company, Hilton, Whittaker said. Gateway Hospitality "is currently in negotiations with a very well-financed group from the East Coast, and they're about to go under contract," he said.

Once the property sells, the new owners will have to pass muster with Hilton, but he doesn't anticipate any problems. "Everything's going well," he said. "Working out the timeline has been an important part of what's being done here, and it's so-far-so-good."

Gateway Hospitality already has received preliminary site plan approval for the project, and a building permit that could be passed along to new owners could be issued as soon as March 1, Whittaker said.

According to the approved plans, all of the guest rooms in the $5.5-million Embassy Suites would be about 500 square feet, with separate living and sleeping quarters and efficiency kitchens. The development also would include 5,500 square feet of conference space, as well as a swimming pool, spa, fitness center and laundry room. It would be constructed to provide 65 underground parking spaces.

A 153-room Holiday Inn planned for the Gateway area "is on track to open in the first quarter of 2008, ahead of the Olympic trials" scheduled for late June next year in Eugene-Springfield, project developer Richard Boyles said.

However, Boyles, owner of Sycan B Corp. and its subsidiary, InnSight Hotel Management Group, has run into a problem with another project, a 90-room TownePlace Suites hotel, which has been put on hold.

"We remain committed to the TownePlace Suites, but siting has been problematic," Boyles said. "The location we had planned fell through, so we don't have a time line now for the project."

Two other hotels under his ownership have been undergoing expansion, however. The Holiday Inn Express, also in the Gateway area, will have 27 new rooms completed during the next several weeks.

Another of his properties, a Residence Inn near downtown Eugene just north of the Willamette River by the Ferry Street Bridge, also will undergo a 27-room expansion beginning in early spring, Boyles said.

Completion of the Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Embassy Suites projects would boost the number of hotel rooms in the Gateway area to just more than 1,200.

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To see more of The Register-Guard, Eugene, Ore., or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.registerguard.com.

Copyright (c) 2007, The Register-Guard, Eugene, Ore.

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