A 85-room, $24.5 million “boutique hotel” for downtown Longmont got initial approval from the city council Tuesday night after proponents assured councilors that concerns over parking will be given a top priority during the development.
Councilors voted unanimously for the development agreement between the city, hotel developer Thrash Group, General Improvement District No.1 and the Longmont Downtown Development Authority, signaling the start of the approval process for the hotel’s construction at the northwest corner of Third and Kimbark.
Councilor Shiquita Yarbrough said city and business officials, along with residents have lobbied for a downtown hotel since the mid-1980s. Now is the ideal time to build one as the city looks at business and education expansion in the heart of Longmont, Yarbrough said.
“I think it is time,” Yarbrough said. “I know it will be beneficial for other businesses downtown. This is a great opportunity for our businesses.”
Kimberlee McKee, executive director of the Longmont Downtown Development Authority, said Longmont often loses out on overnight visitors because they go to Boulder or other nearby cities for lodging. “This will boost our local economy,” McKee said.
She told the council the LDDA is spending $500,000 to make pedestrian and “connectivity” improvements in the area around the hotel. The planned construction of a transit center at First Avenue and Main Street will also bring in 200 parking spaces near downtown, McKee said.
Heather Marvin, owner of the Times Collaborative co-working space, told the council she hopes the city will take into account how downtown traffic will be affected during the hotel’s construction. “Between noise and parking we estimate we could see a 50% reduction in (business) during construction,” Marvin said.
Tamar Hendricks, owner of the downtown pottery studio Crackpots, told the council she is 100% behind the hotel and that construction has not stopped customers from coming into her shop. “Of all the many things to be upset about … this hotel is not one of them,” Hendricks said.
Developer Joe Thrash said the hotel will be designed to encompass the unique features of Longmont and that local artists will produce work to decorate rooms. “Our goal is, hopefully, to make this “the” hotel for downtown Longmont,” Thrash told councilors.
The hotel will have about 85 guest rooms, 5,000 square feet of rooftop restaurant space, 2,000-4,000 square feet of meeting space and commercial space. A parking deck will be available providing 65 hotel spaces and 75 public parking spaces.
The project — which costs an estimated $24.5 million — is attracting a public financial contribution of about $4.3 million to offset the cost of the hotel and parking structure, the staff report states.
The funds from the city and the Longmont Downtown Development Authority are in addition to a land conveyance from the Longmont General Improvement District, according to a city staff report to the city council.
The financial contributions include the appraised valuation of the LGID land contribution, $2.3 million in Tax Increment Funds and about $400,000 in Downtown Improvement Program proceeds from the LDDA, the staff report states.
The balance of the funding is to be provided by the city in Lodgers Tax reimbursements generated exclusively from the hotel, the report states. The Lodgers Tax is the only funding contribution from the city.
The city says that assuming an estimated land value of $400,000, the Lodgers Tax contribution is estimated at $1.2 million.
The overall public agency financial contribution to the project is 17.6% of cost, the city staff report states.e
One estimate says the hotel will generate $108 million over 10 years for the city, McKee told the council.