|By Jessica Holdman, The Bismarck Tribune,
N.D.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 15, 2012--Hotel owners are once again looking to Bismarck, with about six different hotels in various stages of completion.
It would bring the city's hotel count to more than 30.
Fargo-based TMI Hospitality has had hotels in Bismarck since 1992. The company opened its third hotel in the city, a Residence Inn, on July 12.
"Bismarck has been very good to us," said Doug Dobmeier, senior vice president of operations. "It's been a consistent, stable and diverse economic market for us."
Mandan has six hotels, and plans for city property near the new Walmart location include an extended stay hotel.
Hotel occupancy tax collections are up 40 percent, according to Ellen Huber, the business development director for Mandan.
"We're most definitely interested in hotels in the community," she said. "We need the rooms here in Mandan."
Huber said Mandan's lower number of hotels is akin to the challenge the city faces in attracting retail. "That's part of why Walmart is so important to our community," she said.
While Mandan needs more, developers in Bismarck remain conscious of overburdening the market.
"We feel very comfortable, even with these new hotels being added, the impact is going to be minimal on the Residence Inn," Dobmeier said.
He believes a Residence Inn will work in Bismarck because of the type of hotel that it is. It's an extended stay facility, targeting guests planning to book rooms for five or more nights.
Dobmeier said to his knowledge, Candlewood Suites at 4400 Skyline Crossings and an 89-room Staybridge Suites being built at 2801 Gateway Ave., are the only other extended stay hotels in town.
Dobmeier said typical guests are company executives relocating to Bismarck or staying in town for long periods doing business.
"Rather than get an apartment, they can stay in a Residence Inn," he said. "With the robust economy in Bismarck oil and energy, obviously that was a reason for us to get in there."
Trying to create a home away from home, rooms feature full kitchens and sitting areas. There also is an outdoor patio with a gas fireplace for guests to gather. Amenities like restaurants and shopping are within walking distance.
Dobmeier said other draws to Bismarck for the hospitality industry are the workforce, weekend activities like sporting events, being the seat of state government, traffic flow and the proximity to oil and gas activity.
Since its opening, occupancy rates at the hotel have been good, Dobmeier said.
"We've been very pleased with our performance," he said. "We're hitting the goals that we established."
A Sleep Inn is under construction at 1402 E. Century Ave. It will have 74 rooms and could be open as early as Oct. 1.
"The Bismarck market -- it's a good market to be in," owner Jon Miskavige said. "You have growth in the city as a whole. I think it's going to stay busy for quite some time."
Miskavige said Sleep Inn is a mid-scale hotel, attracting a mixture of leisure and business travelers. Because it targets a different sector of the market than other new hotels being built, he thinks it will be successful.
Among other hotels coming to Bismarck is an 84-room Wingate by Wyndham hotel being built at 1431 Skyline Blvd., south of the north Walmart. Wingate by Wyndham is an upper mid-market hotel chain catering primarily to business travelers. The hotel is scheduled to open by May 2013.
Construction will start in September on a Hampton Inn & Suites at
2020 Schafer St. The hotel will be four stories with 98 rooms and is expected to be complete by September 2013. Co-owner Brett Erdmann said he thinks the hotel will meet a need on that side of town.
Developers also will break ground on a 100-room Holiday Inn during the first quarter of 2013. Plans are for it to open in the first quarter of 2014.
The hotel will be at the corner of Skyline Boulevard and North 15th Street.
(c)2012 The Bismarck Tribune (Bismarck, N.D.)
Visit The Bismarck Tribune (Bismarck, N.D.) at www.bismarcktribune.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services