A variety of hurdles must still be cleared, but the path has been paved for a new hotel to be built in downtown Excelsior.
“The hotel is undergoing a Planned Unit Development application, which means there are a concept plan, general plan and final plan,” Excelsior City Manager Kristi Luger said. “It is a three-step process, and we are currently on step one. There will be many more meetings before we have a final decision on this application.”
In addition to the hotel, a two-deck parking facility, restaurant and retail space are also being proposed. The four-story hotel will consist of 58 rooms and feature a ballroom on the roof level.
Excelsior’s Planning Commission has reviewed the hotel plans at its last several meetings, including the most recent last week. The city identified the property at 10 Water Street as a potential area for development back in 2008, and a market study conducted by the developer suggests a strong demand for a hotel in Excelsior.
The parcel—located on the southwest quadrant of Water Street and Lake Street—is currently vacant.
“The hotel project could be seen as an important linkage between Lake Minnetonka, the port and the downtown,” Scott Richards, a consultant for the City of Excelsior, recently wrote in documents prepared for the Planning Commission. “Additionally, the hotel will be seen as a prominent feature of the gateway into Excelsior from the lake and the port. The final design of the Hotel and its ability to establish and maintain those linkages will be vital to the community.”
Richards went on to write that the site of the proposed hotel is near where hotels once stood a century ago. Because the property sits in the city’s Downtown Historic District, the Heritage Preservation Commission will have to issue both a site alteration permit and a demolition permit for plans to move forward.
New revisions to the plan have adequately addressed most concerns about parking and access, but city staff are still questioning some of the schematics of the parking ramp design—such as dimensions of parking spaces and the path of traffic.
The hotel proposal is being submitted by Thomas F. James Properties, LLC. Similar proposals to build a hotel on the site were submitted in both 2010 and 2011 but withdrawn due to difficulties with obtaining variances and easement complications.
Those issues have been resolved to the satisfaction of both the developer and city attorney, and the city council is expected to review the hotel proposal at its July 16 meeting.