Hotel construction to add 300-plus Tri-City rooms
There isn’t a hotel being built on every corner of the Tri-Cities, but it sure seems that way.
Developers are building one hotel each in Kennewick, Pasco and Richland.
Collectively, they will add more than 300 rooms to the market in the coming year or so.
That’s a healthy 7.5 percent expansion of a market that had nearly 4,200 rooms at the end of last year.
▪ There’s a long-delayed Comfort Suites at Kennewick’s Southridge that is almost done. It’s close to the sports complex and Trios Southridge Hospital.
▪ A Courtyard by Marriott is on track to open in the first quarter of 2020 at the Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco.
▪ And in south Richland, framing began this summer on a newcomer to town, WoodSpring Suites. It’s an extended-stay hotel expected to open in 2020.
At the same time, two other longtime Richland hotels are getting major makeovers and new names.
Good time to build
Low interest rates are helping drive the boom, said Taran Patel, managing principal for A1 Hospitality, a Kennewick-based hotel development and management firm.
A1 is developing the Courtyard by Marriott. It typically uses a mix of debt and equity to build properties.
“It’s a good time to be getting locked in with the interest rates,” he said.
The prospect of 300-plus new rooms shouldn’t overload the market, Patel said.
Each targets a different demographic, from economy (Comfort Suites) to upper mid-range (Courtyard).
“They’re all functioning in separate segments,” he said. “We have other hotels in the area. It’s not a concern of ours.”
Welcoming new and renovated
Visit Tri-Cities, the region’s tourism bureau, welcomes the newcomers and their added rooms.
“Each of these new projects will add something to the existing quality accommodation choices for visitors,” said Kim Shugart, the bureau’s senior vice president.
As developers build new properties, two prominent Richland hotels are getting major overhauls and new names.
The Richland Shilo Inn is under heavy renovation and will become a Best Western.
The Richland Red Lion Hotel, aka “Hanford House,” recently submitted renovation plans to the city indicating it will become a Holiday Inn.
Visitors spent $560 million in the Tri-Cities last year and booked 458,000 rooms during the year.
Hotel revenue grew 1.4 percent over the prior year, according to Smith Travel Research figures cited by Visit Tri-Cities.
Lodging taxes generated more than $1.5 million for the Tri-Cities in 2018.
Southridge Comfort Suites
Spokane-based Hospitality Associates is developing the four-story, 94-room hotel at 3703 Plaza Way through its subsidiary, Southridge Innvestments.
The hotel opens Nov. 30, according to its online reservation system. Rooms were advertised for $136 a night for a midweek stay.
The $6.5 million project is one of the more intriguing commercial construction projects thanks to its roots in the Great Recession.
Kennewick city records show Integrity Developers applied to build the hotel as a Comfort Suites in November 2008. Permits were approved in January 2009, but work never began.
Still, in 2012, the Comfort Suites project was one of the markee projects at Southridge, which was in the process of transforming from a dusty hillside of the Tri-Cities to a commercial and residential hub.
Comfort Suites and Taco Bell were set to start, according to a Tri-City Herald story.
Benton County assessor records show the property changed hands several times until it sold for $1.1 million in 2016. The new owners submitted a fresh building permit a year later.
Hospitality Associates could not be reached about its project.
Courtyard by Marriott
A-1 Hospitality LLC’s latest Tri-City project is rapidly taking shape near the entrance to the Tri-Cities Airport, near Road 20 and Argent Road.
It’s the Tri-Cities’ second Courtyard property. The first is on the Richland waterfront.
Pasco’s will offer a fast-casual bistro that operates as a coffee shop by day and a bar at night.
Patel said construction is on schedule for the early 2020 opening. A1 has hired a manager, and Patel said he is extending offers to other key executives this month.
The hotel will employ about 30 when it opens.
Richland-based Fowler Construction is the general contractor.
A1 has a 50-year lease, with two 15-year extensions for the land with the Port of Pasco. It will pay 1.25 percent of the hotel’s gross revenue or $28,000, which ever is greater, for the site.
The 120-room extended-stay hotel from Bellevue-based developer West 77 Partners and the WoodSpring brand is most recent to break ground.
Chervenell Construction is the general contractor for the $7 million project at 1370 Tapteal Drive, across from Kohl’s and near Columbia Center mall.
Framing began recently, raising its visibility from nearby Highway 240.
Richland is one of three WoodSpring projects from West 77. The others are in the Puget Sound area with rates starting at less than $100 per night.
WoodSpring is a newer brand, offering budget-minded visitors a cross between an economy apartment and hotel amenities.
The brand is owned by Choice Hotels International Inc., which also owns Comfort Suites.