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Hundman Hotel Management Planning a Hilton Garden Inn at the
 Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington, Illinois

By Scott Miller, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Oct. 12, 2007 - BLOOMINGTON -- Hundman Hotel Management plans to build a Hilton Garden Inn at the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington.

Larry Hundman's company, which is building the Holiday Inn & Suites directly across Illinois 9 from the airport, was one of just two developers to submit a hotel proposal to the airport. The other, East Peoria-based EM Properties, withdrew its submission.

The deal still requires approval from the Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority. On Thursday, the authority board granted airport staff approval to negotiate a final contract with Hundman to bring back for approval at a later date.

"I think we're going to be successful," said airport Executive Director Carl Olson, saying he didn't know what course the airport would take if the deal fell through.

In other action, the airport approved a 3 percent pay raise for Olson, who is under contract through June 1, 2010. His new annual salary is $132,483.

In an effort to boost airport revenue, the authority voted in May to seek proposals from hotel developers who would build and run the hotel and lease up to five acres from the airport at Illinois 9 and CIRA Drive, at the entrance to the terminal.

The income for the airport remains unknown. Olson said he would negotiate a one-time fee along with an annual payment based on the percentage of revenue that the hotel receives.

While details are up for negotiation, the hotel is expected to have 104 rooms, 3,200 square feet of meeting and banquet space, a pool, fitness center and business center.

The lobby would have a full-service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. It would be operated by the hotel, not franchised like Hundman did with J. Buck's Restaurant at the Holiday Inn across the street.

The Hilton would be one of eight hotels either under construction or recently opened in the Twin Cities, but Hundman said the Hilton, the Holiday Inn and other new hotels would ultimately replace older facilities that could close.

Hundman planned to build the Hilton across the street, near the Holiday Inn, but said the airport land presented a good opportunity to serve business travelers.

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To see more of The Pantagraph, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.pantagraph.com.

Copyright (c) 2007, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.

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