The Spokane International Airport board gave the green light Wednesday for construction of a new three-story, 83-room hotel to be constructed within walking distance of the airport terminal.
The Wingate by Wyndham will cost between $6 million and $7 million to build and will cater to business and leisure travelers, said Richard Cane, one of three general partners in Flight Deck EP, LP, which is developing and will own the hotel.
Cane said he hopes site work will begin by June 30 so the hotel will be ready for guests by July 1, 2008.
Flight Deck will lease the hotel's 4.75-acre site from the airport authority. During construction, Flight Deck will pay $25,000 a year in rent. Once the approximately 52,000-square-foot hotel opens, the company will pay close to $52,000 a year or 5 percent of room revenues, whichever is greater.
The airport approved a 30-year-lease with one 20-year-option to renew. In addition, the Wingate retains the rights to add another 50 rooms in the future.
Cane projects first-year revenues will be between $2.5 million and $3 million.
Even though the new mid-level Wingate will be next door to the 161-room, full-service Airport Ramada Inn, Cane said he expects a healthy synergy between the two.
"We are by no means meant as a direct competitor," he told the airport board. "We don't want to take anything away from the Ramada. (But) we should be able to pull some business from some of the older properties," Cane said.
He said he thinks the Ramada had enough "turn-aways" in the past two years that the Wingate will not damage the adjacent hotel's occupancy rates. And many guests at the Wingate, which will serve only continental breakfasts, will frequent the Ramada's restaurant, café and lounge, Cane said.
Airport Ramada Inn general manager Denise Vickerman said competition was inevitable.
"What's unfortunate is that the piece of the pie for all the other hotels out here, including the Hilton and Holiday Inn, gets a little bit smaller," Vickerman said.
However, both the Ramada and the Wingate will be franchises properties of Wyndham Worldwide, she said. "Hopefully, it'll be like our little sister and we can work hand in hand."
Cane now lives in El Paso, Texas. But he managed and held an ownership interest in the Spokane Airport Ramada in the '70s and '80s, he said. He also owns a cabin on Lake Coeur d'Alene.
While there are already enough hotel rooms within the city of Spokane, he said, the area near the airport is a "pocket" ripe for a reasonably sized property like the Wingate.
The Wingate will offer two conference rooms, a 12-person board room, a business center, exercise room, outdoor pool and high-speed as well as wireless computer hookups.
Cane said the Wingate's peers include Hilton Garden Inns, Courtyards by Marriott, Embassy Suites and Hampton Inns and Suites.
Flight Deck owns and operates five other hotels, all in nearby states - including the soon-to-open Wingate Inn and Suites near the El Paso airport. Remaining properties are along interstates or near industrial parks.
The Spokane International Airport board awarded a design contract to the Cortner Architectural Co. of Spokane to draw plans for an estimated $10 million expansion of the rental car pickup and return area, situated outside the Ground Transportation Center. Construction should start in the spring of 2008 and wrap up that fall.
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