Marriott hotel to locate near DL Pavilion

It's a city planner's dream come true: A St. Cloud developer wants to build a $10 million hotel-restaurant project across from the Pavilion on Washington Avenue and West Lake Drive in Detroit Lakes.

It’s a city planner’s dream come true: A St. Cloud developer wants to build a $10 million hotel-restaurant project across from the Pavilion on Washington Avenue and West Lake Drive in Detroit Lakes.


A hotel on that site is part of the city’s long-range plan as spelled out in a 2008 study by RDG Planning & Design.

The four-story, 69-unit Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott will feature nine condo units on the top floor, along with a breakfast-swimming pool area and other amenities that come with a limited service hotel.


But before it can become a reality, it will have to win some variances from the city council – for height, drainage, and number of parking spaces.

“It’s a showcase development, and it’s just what we were looking for on this corner,” said Detroit Lakes Community Development Director Larry Remmen.

The building housing the hotel and condos will face Washington Avenue, roughly where the Capri Motel now stands. The new building will be about 50,000 square feet, and a separate restaurant, fronting on West Lake Drive, will be about 4,000 square feet.

Negotiations are still underway with potential operators of the restaurant.

The Lakeshirts store on West Lake Drive will remain, but from three to five houses on the southeast end of Lake Avenue nearest the lake will be purchased and removed for parking.

So far three of the five homeowners have agreed to sell to the developers. If the other two don’t sell they will have a parking lot on several sides. Negotiations are still underway for those two houses.

“There is no imminent domain on this project,” Remmen said. “The city has not been involved in negotiations for any of the property acquisition. It’s all been done by the developers.”

The development needs 179 parking spaces to meet city requirements, and so far has 139 parking spaces. “The developers feel confident 139 (spaces) is adequate to run the business well,” Remmen said.


Investors include a mix of locals and out-of-towners, he said. Brad and Mitch Wimmer, who already own property on the corner, are investors in the new development, Remmen said. The developer is United Development Solutions, owned by Troy J. Hoekstra of St. Cloud.

Hoekstra said his company developed four or five hotels last year and three or four the year before.

He’s been working on design, land acquisition and permitting for the Detroit Lakes project for about 18 months, he said.

“At the end of the day, I think it’s a good project,” he said. It wasn’t until later in the process he saw that a similar hotel project is included in the city’s long-term plan. “But hey, it’s better to be lucky than good, right?” he joked.

Hoekstra, who is also an investor in the project, believes the hotel will be popular since it’s near “the heartbeat of the city,” and is close to medical, sports and recreation facilities.

Regarding drainage, the project is now at just over 70 percent impervious surface, exactly double the city’s 35 percent limit for commercial development.

But the Capri Motel is at 83 percent impervious surface, so if a variance is granted, it will be an improvement in that area, Remmen said.

“They’ve agreed to less impervious surface and treatment for it,” Remmen said. “They already have a permit from the Pelican River Watershed District.”


The new development will include a storm water holding pond on the corner across from the Pavilion.

For the project to move forward, the Detroit Lakes City Council will ultimately need to approve a conditional use permit for a mixed use development on the site, and approve variances for height, parking and drainage.

“If all goes well,” Remmen said, “all approvals will be finished by May 12, then it’s up to the developer to get us the plans and get a building permit.”

Hoekstra said he is hoping to start construction in late May or early June.

Because of the sandy soil in the area, pilings will be needed for the foundation, which adds to construction costs but is not a deal-breaker, Hoekstra said.

He said the city and watershed district have been good to work with.

“They were tough, but fair,” he said. “There was no moving target here. We understood what they wanted from the beginning and it’s been open book all the way … we probably have the biggest holding pond of any hotel in the area.”

Remmen said new development also appears to be on the verge of happening downtown.


The city has entered into a letter of intent with a developer for a project on the 2.5 acre downtown site - where the former Miguel’s building sat - an area that the city has been promoting for development.

“We expect a development agreement within 60 days,” Remmen said. Plans call for a mixed use retail and residential project downtown. He said he can’t get into specifics until a development agreement is signed.

So with the hotel and the downtown project, “we’re working on two major developments in Detroit Lakes,” he said. “We’re hoping that both get under construction this year. It’s the kind of development that we want to see happen in Detroit Lakes – high class, showplace-type developments.”

A public hearing and discussion on the Washington Avenue-West Lake Drive project will be held by the Detroit Lakes Planning Commission at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 at city hall.


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