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.

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