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National hotel coming to North Bend
NORTH BEND _ Valley visitors and highway travelers will soon
gain another lodging choice.
A 148-room Hampton Inn is scheduled to break ground at the
end of this summer at the southwest corner of Mount Si Boulevard and
412th Avenue Southeast, next to the
Jesus Christ Church of Latter-day Saints and just south of the Mountain
Valley Shopping Center.
The national chain's addition pleases many city officials and
residents, who believe North Bend needs additional accommodations.
"There definitely is a shortage of hotel and motel rooms in this
area," Valley resident Don Oster said, explaining how sales
representatives who visited his former auto parts
business always had to stay in Issaquah when calling on North Bend.
"We're dying for more hotel and conference rooms," said
Susan Hankins, director of the Upper Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of
Commerce. "We get many calls during the year for (groups wanting to
have) events, and we have to turn them away. And it means that money is
leaving the Valley because we don't have adequate accommodations."
There are approximately 176 hotel and motel rooms in Snoqualmie
and North Bend, most of which are full during busy periods.
The four-story hotel will be built in two phases, with the first
consisting of 78 guest rooms, one to three conference rooms, a swimming
pool and 165 parking spaces. Phase 2 will add 70 rooms and could be
started sometime within the next three years.
Phase 1 construction is slated to begin in August or September
and should be finished by March, according to Paul Clark, an architect
working on the inn's design.
The 2.6-acre project is expected to move forward once final approval
is granted. City officials have recently determined that the development
will not adversely affect the environment, if mitigation requirements are
met. Laurence Stockton, director of North Bend's Community Services
Department, is currently reviewing the hotel's plans. A grading permit could be
issued as soon as mid-August.
Project applicants Dr. George and Linda Oh are Tacoma residents
who also own the Hampton Inn at Sea-Tac and one in Los Angeles.
George Oh said he is looking forward to the new hotel's
construction and hopes business will be good.
Members of the city's Business and Economic Development
Commission (EDC) see the hotel as a tool for capturing tourist dollars.
EDC Chairman Art Skolnik said North Bend has always needed a
destination that can accommodate businesspeople, skiers and tourists.
"We want (visitors) to eat in our restaurants, go to our movie
theater and shop in our stores," he said.
Skolnik added that because a hotel and motel tax was adopted last
year, Hampton Inn's tax dollars will contribute to the city's revitalization.
"For those who want to preserve the rural character of our city, it's
a win-win situation," he explained. "And it's is going to be creating some
job opportunities that we hope local residents will able to take advantage of."
The hotel will employ 12 people.