Three new hotels proposed near airport; City's Plan Commission approves one

Three separate hotel proposals, totaling over 350 rooms, have surfaced near Mitchell International Airport in an area that is becoming the Milwaukee area's most active submarket for hotel development.

The city Plan Commission recommended zoning approval Monday for an 80-room Sleep Inn & Suites proposed for a site east of S. 6th St., about a block north of W. Layton Ave.

The commission delayed acting on plans for two higher-end hotels, totaling 275 rooms, to be built on the site of St. Stephen Catholic Church, 5880 S. Howell Ave., about a block north of E. College Ave. Those plans were referred to Department of City Development staffers for additional work.

The I-94 corridor on the southern end of Milwaukee County is attracting interest from hotel developers because many of the area's properties are old and tired, said consultant Greg Hanis, who operates Hospitality Marketers Inc., a Pewaukee firm.

"I think new hotel product could come in and outperform in that area," Hanis said.

Business travelers using the airport, as well as those drawn by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.'s expanding operations in Franklin, are among the factors generating demand for new hotel rooms in that area, Hanis said.

The new proposals were disclosed just 10 days after ground was broken on a 114-room Staybridge Suites, which is being built at 9527 S. 27th St., near the southwest corner of S. 27th St. and W. Ryan Road, in Franklin. Other nearby hotel plans include a 57-room Microtel Inn & Suites at 9611 S. 13th St., which is south of W. Ryan Road in Oak Creek.

The Sleep Inn would be developed by American Design & Build Inc., a West Bend firm that is building a Hampton Inn & Suites in West Bend, and plans to build another Hampton in Grafton.

American Design plans to begin construction by next summer, with completion by May 2009, said Kraig Sadownikow, company president. Sleep Inn is an economy hotel brand franchised by Choice Hotels International Inc., which includes Comfort Suites, Clarion Inn and Quality Inn among its brands.

At the Howell Ave. site, Madison-based Raymond Management Co. plans to build two neighboring hotels, one with 125 rooms and the other with 150 rooms, according to plans filed with the Department of City Development.

The hotel franchises weren't disclosed in those plans, and a Raymond manager couldn't be reached for comment. The plans said each hotel would be a high-end national franchise, with a swimming pool, business center and exercise room.

The smaller hotel would be built first. Construction on the two hotels would begin about a year apart.

The 150-room hotel would include a restaurant and 3,000 to 4,000 square feet of meeting room space. The St. Stephen parish is moving to a church under development at 1441 W. Oakwood Road, Oak Creek, and the former church would be demolished to make way for that hotel.

Raymond Management operates 18 hotels in Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin, according to the company's Web site. Its portfolio includes 15 Hampton Inns, including one near the airport, at 1200 W. College Ave.

Raymond also operates a Hilton Garden Inn, a Homewood Suites and a Country Inn & Suites.

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