Financing hunt slows North Bend hotel development

North Bend's contentious amendment allowing hotels to be built south of I-90 doesn't look like it will be invoked soon.

North Bend business owner George Wyrsch, a potential hotel developer, has put on hold development at the corner of Ribary Way and Bendigo Boulevard.

Wyrsch has been working with an architect on a site plan and building design. He told Valley Record that finding financing for the project has been challenging.

"There's really no financing available right now," Wyrsch said.

That's not a surprise to Gina Estep, North Bend's Director of Community and Economic Development, who worked with the contentious zone code changes south of I-90 for the construction of a future hotel.

If it weren't for the tight lending situation that they are in, the hotel would probably happen sooner, Estep said.

"When we were going through that process, I was not looking at it as whether the property owner was or wasn't going to build it," she said. "If a hotel was to happen this is how it should be built."

Wyrsch spent about $100,000 a few years ago on fees toward building plans that had expired on a previous project. He decided to wait this time, as he didn't want to go through that again.

"Because of financing, we did ask the city to extend the building plans once they're approved," he said.

As Hilton hotels are given 15 months to plan and 18 months to build and be up and operating, Wyrsch said he had little confidence that financing would be available within a 12 month time frame.

He will revisit the project in January of 2011.

New hotel rules were approved by the council last April.

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