|By Rolf Boone, The Olympian, Olympia,
Wash.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
April 10, 2011--A Seattle company that brought two hotels to Lacey now has its sights set on bringing two hotels to Olympia on a piece of property that has sat undeveloped for years.
The company is Hotel Concepts and the project is a proposed 130-unit Hilton Garden Inn at Henderson Boulevard and Interstate 5, adjacent to the Henderson Boulevard roundabout, company partner Han Kim said Monday. The project is in its infancy.
The group paid $2.54 million for the property last month, according to Thurston County assessor data, and has hired an architect to begin the design process. A target completion date for the $15 million-$16 million project is at the end of 2013, he said.
Once the Hilton Garden Inn is complete, and once business has stabilized after it has opened, the group wants to build an extended stay-type hotel next door, Kim said.
He said his group has had its eyes on the Olympia market for the past 10 years, but couldn't strike a deal for the property. This time they bought the property from a bank, Kim said.
The Hilton Garden Inn likely will cater to business travelers and small-convention travelers, Kim said.
The group considers Olympia to be an underserved hotel market, although new hotels have arrived and other projects have been proposed in the greater area, including in Tumwater and Lacey. A La Quinta Inns & Suites has been pitched for property along Capitol Boulevard, a Hampton Inn and Suites is under construction in DuPont and a Best Western Plus opened in Hawks Prairie last year.
Hotel occupancy rates in the area fluctuate between 50 percent and 70 percent, said George Sharp, executive director of the Olympia Lacey Tumwater Visitors and Convention Bureau.
He said the Olympia-area hotel marketplace is holding its own, but each new hotel opening means someone else will have to give up a little business in the interim.
Still, "new product does bring new clientele," he said, "and we will work hard to promote all of them and keep them as full as possible."
Hotel Concepts has developed about 15 hotels in Washington and Oregon, including a Holiday Inn Express and Candlewood Suites that opened in Lacey in 2007.
Kim said the company has felt the effects of the recession, but although occupancy rates fell, so, too, did the cost of construction, which allowed the company to keep building. Business slowly is coming back, he said.
"Occupancy rates are climbing and going in a positive direction now," he said.
The company operates the hotels as franchises through a separate management company.
This isn't the first time a hotel has been discussed for that Henderson Boulevard site. At one time a Marriott hotel and restaurant was thought to be coming to a parcel there, then an office building was pitched for the site in late 2006.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403
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