|By Tina Hinz, Waterloo-Cedar Falls
Courier, IowaMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 18, 2011--CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- A new Hilton hotel is one step closer to calling Cedar Falls home.
On Wednesday, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the site plan for a Hilton Garden Inn at 7400 Nordic Drive, just west of Iowa Highway 58 and north of Ridgeway Avenue. The 113-room, four-story hotel would be located on 4.5 acres in the northwest corner of the 12-acre property.
The hotel will feature convention space and a restaurant. The exterior design shows cultured stone on the lower level, and 12 trees have been added to the normal landscaping requirement.
"I just happened to see one of the Hilton Gardens in Des Moines with the cultured stone, and it looked very nice," Commissioner Jewell Hays said.
The hotel would be owned by Chrisbro LLC, based in Rapid City, S.D. The name is a shortened version of Christianson brothers. Craig and Harry Christianson are partners in the business, which has multiple other hotels in the Midwest, including the Hampton Inn in Waterloo, according to attorney Jim Sheerer.
"We're just really excited about it," said Cedar Falls native Mary Carlson, general manager of the local Hampton, who would take over the Hilton hotel once it opens. "We have a very strong relationship with Hilton. Our property has done so well that they want us to expand, and Cedar Falls is the way to go."
Commissioner Jan Andersen asked whether the existing tall pine trees will be saved. The development area is known as Lockard Pines.
"We love the pines," she said. "It sort of defines the whole lot."
However, Bruce Radue with VJ Engineering said "most of them will be gone, unfortunately."
"They're a little too far in from the property lines," he said.
City staff and Lockard Development are arranging for the construction of an extension of Commerce Drive, along the south boundary of the larger property.
Other Hilton Garden Inns in Iowa are in Ames, Council Bluffs, Dubuque, Johnston, Sioux City and West Des Moines.
The commission also approved a rezoning request for a triangular-shaped lot at East Fifth and Bluff streets, near Viking Pump's downtown location.
Steve Conrad plans to build a triangular building with office or retail space on the first floor and four condominiums on the second. A more finalized site plan will require further review from the commission in few months, city planner Marty Ryan said.
"It will be a quite nice commercial-retail facility on that property," he said.
The area is zoned heavy industrial, to match Viking Pump just to the north. Conrad has requested the property be rezoned to C-3 commercial, the same classification as the Parkade.
In other business, a proposal for a new Casey's General Store at Greenhill Road and South Main Street was pulled from the agenda at the petitioner's request and has been tabled for further discussion.
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Copyright (c) 2011, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Iowa
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