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City Council Investigates Hotel Development

 

The Lamar City Council held a work session Monday, December 4th, to explore the potential development of an up-scale hotel in the city.  The council held a telephone interview with Tim Shefchik of BriMark Builders, representing Cobblestone Hotel and Suites.

The feasibility study will be paid for by a $7,500 matching grant supplied by SECED, Southeast Colorado Enterprise Development. Angie Cue, Community Development Director, said the application has cleared the local and state level hurdles and all that is needed is approval on the federal level before the grant is authorized.  The city’s share will be $1,875 and Eric Depperschmidt, Executive Director of Prowers Economic Prosperity, told the council the announcement should be presented after a two week review period.

Shefchik explained Cobblestone works with local financing partners for hotel development, and host towns can be expected to provide their buy-in from property tax rebates, cash flow options, utility rebates or some relief from sales or bed taxes, per state guidelines. “We’ve found that this concept of local financing helps keep the proceeds within the community and maintains a local incentive on a long-range basis,” he said, adding that the concept works best when the local funders are on board from the first presentation.  He’s spoken with two landowners at this point and hasn’t ruled out the southern section of town as most of the motel and retail development has been north of the railroad tracks.

There are other Cobblestone Hotels in the area, which, Shefchik said, would not necessarily compete with a development in Lamar. The Eads location offers 33 beds and the one in Lakin, Kansas has 45 beds.  He explained that although the numbers for Eads weren’t up to expectations due to the absence of oil development interests, the facility has had good numbers recently.  There would be local employment, of course, but an outside firm, WHG, provides the majority of hotel managers who are specifically trained to run a facility.  Cobblestone would take a franchise fee for a fixed set of years in the proposal.

Depperschmidt said the feasibility study is not contractually obligated to go with Cobblestone. “Because we will own it, we maintain the right to provide the information to interested parties at our choosing.”  Angie Cue added that the study will also aid existing motels to help fine tune their projections and plans for gaining more clients.  She stressed that Depperschmidt will remain non-partisan when it comes to finding local investors.

On another matter, City Administrator, John Sutherland, told the council grant funding is available for a professional architect design for the Last Chance Animal Shelter west of Lamar. That facility recently closed and the city was advised they could, at no charge, take over the premises.  The Last Chance building offers some amenities the current shelter on CR EE.5 does not.  The council will discuss the funding and the possibility of relocating to the Last Chance Shelter during their next meeting on December 11th.

By Russ Baldwin

 

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyFeaturedTourismTransportationUtilities

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