Hilton Garden Inn hotel earns airport approval

BLOOMINGTON - Bloomington is one step closer to getting a Hilton Garden Inn.

Hundman Hotel Management, which plans to build the $10 million hotel at the Central Illinois Regional Airport, received site plan approval from the Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority this week.

The hotel will be on the southwest corner of Illinois 9 and CIRA Drive, and the front of the hotel will face east, said airport Executive Director Carl Olson.

"It?s going to be great for the community," Olson said.

The airport board still needs to approve final hotel design plans and contract details, including the airport land-lease agreement. The airport will act as the landlord and receive lease payments from the hotel, Olson said.

"We?re making good progress. Soon, we?re going to come to the board with that," Olson said.

Final approval could happen as soon as December or January, said John Brinkman, president of Hundman Hotel Management, which also is the developer of the Holiday Inn & Suites under construction across the street from the airport. That hotel will open in December.

Brinkman hopes to break ground on the Hilton Garden Inn in the spring or early summer of 2008 and open the hotel in early 2009.

The Hilton will have about 104 rooms and suites, 4,800 square feet of meeting space, a fitness center, pool, business center, a full-service restaurant and a small lobby bar, Brinkman said. The exterior design will be similar to the style of the airport terminal, possibly by using the same style stone and architectural details, Brinkman said.

The hotel?s location will be convenient for airport travelers and will complement the nearby Holiday Inn and Suites, he said.

"That area is growing. ? It?s fantastic visibility for incoming travelers," Brinkman said. "It?s just a perfect fit."

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PUB: The Pantagraph

PUB DATE: 20071129

Section: Money

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