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JTC Inc. Building a 100 room Country Inn and Suites by Carlson
 in Grand Forks, North Dakota
By Yangkyoung Lee and Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald, N.D.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Aug. 24, 2007 - Grand Forks will have a new hotel in town as early as next summer. It would be Grand Forks' 24th hotel.

Foundation work started Thursday morning for construction of the Country Inn and Suites by Carlson at 3101 S. 42nd St., said Todd Innes, managing partner of JTC Inc., the developer of the hotel.

The hotel will have four stories with 100 rooms, near the 32nd Avenue exit on Interstate 29 and Menards, Innes said.

"I think the location is really great. Easy access to lots of things," Innes said. "We believe that Grand Forks has demand that can handle at least 100 more units."

Grand Forks' newest hotel, Canad Inns, just opened in May with 190 rooms, bringing the city's total motel rooms in 23 motels to about 1,750, based on information from the Convention and Visitors Bureau and motel spokespeople.

East Grand Forks has two motels with a total of 84 rooms.

The 100 rooms planned for the new Country Inns is equal to about 5.7 percent of the current total of motel rooms in Grand Forks.

Innes and JTC partner John McLeod co-own the 5.5-acre lot where the hotel will be built, along with other business partners. The hotel will occupy 2.4 acres.

Innes said the firm received the footing and foundation permit for the construction Wednesday but was still waiting for a full planning permit from the Grand Forks Planning and Zoning Commission.

The City Council still has to approve Innes' plan for a two-entrance, 24,000-square-foot building on the site, said an official in the city's planning office.

Innes' new hotel will be managed by Yellowstone Management.

Room reduction

Two Grand Forks hotels on the more affordable side on Gateway Drive recently have reduced the number of rooms available, according to spokespeople at the motels: the Budget Inn Express the former Westward Ho from 108 to 45 rooms and the Ideal Inn & Suites the former Plainsman from 50 to 30 rooms.

According to figures provided by the city's finance department, based on the Convention and Visitors Bureau, $316,817.86 was collected in the first six months of this year in the 3 percent entertainment tax collected on motel rooms. That is up 13.65 percent from the first six months of 2006, when $278,755.59 in entertainment tax was collected on the city's hotel rooms.

In its first two months of business, Canad Inns collected $8,799 - $3,937.75 in May and $4,661.21 in June of the 3 percent tax. That was well behind two other motels, despite Canad Inns having more rooms than any other hotel in the city. Those were the only two months reported for Canad Inns, the 13-story, $50 million complex attached to the Alerus Center. When the building is complete, it will have 201 rooms, according to the hotel's spokespeople.

Entertainment tax

For what it's worth, the increase from 2006 in the entertainment tax collected by Grand Forks motels in the first six months of this year was $38,062, and Canad Inns' share of $8,799 amounts to 23 percent of the increase.

The Hilton Garden Inn, on the west side of UND's campus, collected $5,429 in May and $6,182 in June in the entertainment tax. The Holiday Inn collected $6,175 in May and $5,398 in June. The Ramada Inn, with 100 rooms, collected $3,077 in May and $3,085 in June. The Best Western Townhouse downtown, with 104 rooms, collected $3,464 in May and $3,898 in June.

For the first six months of the year, the Holiday Inn, with 148 rooms, collected $35,911 in the entertainment tax, and the Hilton Garden Inn, with 100 rooms, collected $33,730, leading all other motels by a long shot. Yellowstone Management, which runs both the C'Mon Inn (80 rooms) and the Holiday Inn Express, (81 rooms) collected $57,028 in the tax for the first six months of the year. Other six-month totals this year: the Townhouse, $20,442; Ramada Inn, $18,410; AmericInn (57 rooms), $16,141; Comfort Inn (65 rooms), $15,723; Road King Inn (85 rooms), $15,210; Fairfield Inn (62 rooms), $15,100; Lakeview Inn & Suites, (86 rooms), $14,852.

Reach Yangkyoung Lee at (701) 787-6736, (800) 477-6572, ext. 736; or ylee@gfherald.com.

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To see more of the Grand Forks Herald, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.grandforks.com.

Copyright (c) 2007, Grand Forks Herald, N.D.

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