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July 31, 2012

More hotel action on Roch.'s 2nd Street

Rochester's growing population and Mayo Clinic's continued success are attracting the attention of hotel developers.

07302012marriotthotelThe latest project to be announced is a new Homewood Suites by Hilton extended-stay hotel to be built on the 1300 block of Second Street Southwest.

Rochester developer Marc Carpenter and Torgerson Properties, of Willmar, plan to build the 111-room, seven-story hotel on the open lots next to their Courtyard by Marriott. Including the SpringHill Suites, this will be the company's third hotel within a few blocks of Saint Marys Hospital.

Construction is slated to start in the spring, with an estimated opening date in early 2014. The hotel will feature an indoor swimming pool, a 24-hour convenience store, a fitness center and complimentary grocery shopping services.

The project is described as completing Carpenter's vision for Second Street. Two old houses between the Courtyard hotel and McDonald's were torn down in 2010 as a preamble.

Hotel development is heating up in Rochester.

An 85-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites opened last month a few blocks south of where the Homewood Suites will be built. Across the street, the former Blondell Hotel was gutted and underwent Newhotelan extensive remodel to be re-branded at the Brentwood on 2nd at the start of the summer.

Just north of the Courtyard by Marriott, a cluster of properties including the Bell Tower Inn sold for $2.72 million earlier this month. The new owners have not announced any plans yet, but many are speculating that the area will be re-developed with a new hotel.

Hoteliers are positioning themselves for the Med City's future, which observers say appears bright.

"It is a bit of a prospecting thing," says Brad Jones, president of the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Rochester is very well-suited for growth. I think you will see a fair amount of growth in next five years."

However, the hospitality market is flat at the moment, he says. Rochester hotels were running about 68 percent filled last month. Jones says about 70 percent occupancy usually triggers hotel development.

There has been dramatic increases in room rates here, with the average daily rate hitting $96 and the year-round average clocking in at $95.

That's well above Minneapolis' daily average of $75 and Duluth's $80.

"People are drawn to that. Of course, we have some high-end rooms that skew that number," says Jones.

The city has 5,362 rooms now, and that will grow to more than 5,400 by next year. That puts Rochester second in the state to only Minneapolis, which has more than 10,000 rooms. Many of those hotel guests are people seeking treatment at the Mayo Clinic, and their families.

"It is a huge amount for a community our size," he says.

In the four-state region, Rochester is in the top five cities as far as number of hotel rooms. Rochester has about the same number as Madison, Wis., which has more than double the population.

Comments

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I think you've got your directions rotatedt today... Holliday Inn is west (not south) of the lot, and the old Bell Tower Inn is east (not north.)

You're right, Eric.That is definitely a weakness of mine.

Luckily someone caught that before the print version went to press.

Thanks for pointing it out. I'll get this version fixed.

Now what we really, really need is to make it so no one can turn left off 2nd Street heading east, except at the stop lights. It seems someone is always trying to turn left in to McD's or a hotel at the most inopportune time.

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