Idaho hotel room rates outpace neighboring states

The Hampton Inn & Suites (left), the Grove Hotel, Marriott Residence Inn Boise Downtown/City Center and Inn at 500 Capitol make up Idaho’s largest cluster of hotels. Photo by Teya Vitu.

Idaho hotels lead the northwestern states in increases in the average daily rate at hotels but also had the largest decrease in room occupancy over the past year, according to a hospitality research report.

The Marcus & Millichap Hospitality Research Report noted that average daily rates (ADR) at Idaho hotels increased 4.5 percent to $101.96 from July 2017 to July 2018, the largest increase among Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

Specifically in Boise, ADR increased 5.2 percent from $102.61 to $108.02, according to Greater Boise Auditorium District statistics.

The Marcus & Millichap report also cautioned that Idaho room occupancy “plummeted” 1.9 percentage points to 63.2 percent compared to a .3 percentage point increase to 64.2 percent across the five states. GBAD notes Boise occupancy dropped 2.7 percentage points to 72.0 percent.

The occupancy rate is moot because Idaho has added some 3,000 new rooms at about 40 new hotels in the past couple years, said Pat Rice, executive director at GBAD, which is funded by transient occupancy taxes charged at hotels.

Downtown Boise alone has added four new hotels with 580 rooms in less than two years.

“I would say nothing plummeted,” Rice said. “The occupancy rate is driven purely by supply. You add that kind of supply to the market, you might have more occupancy.”

But Rice said Boise has absorbed nearly all the new rooms, considering the vacancy rate is similar with more than 600 new rooms across the city. He noted that room nights increased by 66,925 to 1.56 million rooms filled over the course of a year.

“We’re up simply because of the number of conventions we can do,” Rice said.

Boise Centre events and conventions spiked following the August 2017 opening of the 36,000-square-foot Boise Centre East expansion. The number of total events at Boise Centre increased from 270 in 2016 to a projected 368 for 2018, bringing 42,000 more people to the convention center, and the number of conventions grew from 47 to 68, Rice said.

Room revenue also increased 7.3 percent to $170.4 million in July 2018 in the GBAD area, which is generally east of Eagle Road, Rice said.

Jared S. Barr built the largest hotel among the current generation of new hotels, the 185-room Marriott Residence Inn Boise Downtown/City Center. He is also building a 108-room Marriott TownePlace Suites in Twin Falls that is expected to open in June next to his 92-room Marriott Fairfield Inn.

“We put a massive amount of supply on the market,” Smith said. “We all need time to understand how it will affect all of us.”

New hotels aren’t the only factor taking a bite out of occupancy rates. Airbnb’s presence in Idaho more than tripled from 7,300 vacation home rentals in 2016 to 24,000 in 2018, according to the Idaho Department of Commerce.

“The vacation rental element made a much bigger impact,” said Matt Borud, Commerce’s chief marketing and innovation officer.

Borud said he has watched hotel room rates climb over the past two to three years.

“New high-end properties coming online is a driver of that,” Borud said.

Unlike neighboring states, where a lion’s share of tourism generally focuses on one or two general areas, Idaho has seen hotel construction all over the state in nearly all significant population centers. Idaho visitation is up 4 percent from 2015, according to Borud.

“Visitation is up across the state,” Borud said. “The growth is not limited to one or two pockets. Every area around the state has a unique travel opportunity.”

Marcus & Millichap also mentioned that “more flights are being added to and from Boise, giving visitors more flexibility to visit the state from some of the nation’s largest markets.”

Since June 2017, Boise Airport has seen several airlines launch service to new cities — Southwest Airlines offers flights to San Diego and San Jose, American Airlines to Chicago O’Hare and Allegiant to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Frontier entered the market with service to Denver. American added a flight to Dallas, and Alaska Airlines increased plane size on some flights to Seattle, airport spokesman Sean Briggs said.

Passenger traffic increased 11 percent through July 2018 to 3.69 million.

“Last year was a record year, and we’re blowing it out of the water this year,” Briggs said.

Caldwell may get a downtown hotel

A downtown Caldwell mixed-use redevelopment could involve a hotel and one or two other retail and office/residential buildings. Image courtesy of city of Caldwell.

Caldwell may get a new hotel  on the site where the Saratoga Hotel burned down in 1990.

The Gardner Company’s Boise office is negotiating to build a hotel and separate retail space, plus office or residential, on 1.4 acres owned by the Caldwell Urban Renewal Agency.

The Creekside development is bounded by Main Street, Sixth and Seventh avenues and Indian Creek near the city’s recently opened Indian Creek Plaza, which includes a stage and a plaza that converts to ice skating in winter.

Gardner is also working on the Trolley Square Plaza redevelopment project on the other side of Indian Creek Plaza. It includes the 11-screen Luxe Reel Theatre and, so far, one 4,000-square-foot retail building that is nearing completion.

At Creekside, Gardner is considering a 50- to 120-room limited-service hotel, but the company wants a development agreement in place before opening discussions with hotel operators, said David Wali, Gardner’s executive vice president.

For the retail, office and residential components, Wali is considering a three-story building with 1,000 to 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and office or residential on top. Or there could be two buildings.

“It depends on what somebody wants,” Wali said. “Caldwell is interesting. It has a number of outlying communities that this is the closest place to come into. There is the College of Idaho, the city and county offices. It has a potential of improving dramatically quickly.”

Wali doesn’t expect Creekside construction to start before summer 2019.

CTA Group of Boise is the architect. Okland Construction of Salt Lake City is the general contractor.

“They are integrating (Creekside) with Indian Creek Plaza,” said Keri Smith-Sigman, Caldwell’s economic development specialist. “You can cross over from one development to the next and have something different to do.”

Caldwell Urban Renewal bought the Creekside properties in 2015 and 2016 for $1.5 million and spent $318,856 to relocate utilities. The agency in an initial request for proposal in 2016 asked for a boutique hotel, but a chain hotel was proposed and ultimately fell through in 2017.

The current request for proposals asks for a mixed-use development.

“We’re offering a build-ready site,” Smith-Sigman said.

The city awaits a redevelopment appraisal to determine a sales price to Gardner or whether the property will be transferred at no cost if the appraisal comes back at negative value.

Downtown Caldwell has been under construction for the past 18 months with Indian Creek Plaza and Trolley Square. Wali said tenants haven’t been signed at Trolley Square, but the company is talking to a Mexican restaurant and yogurt shop. Construction on the second commercial building won’t start until the first is fully leased, he said.

Indian Creek and Trolley Square come a decade after Caldwell’s initial downtown revitalization in the mid-2000s. The city “daylighted,” or exposed, a section of Indian Creek that had been covered for decades.

“This is our ongoing effort to become the premiere northwestern gathering place,” Smith-Sigman said.


Hilton Garden Inn opens at Pioneer Crossing

The Hilton Garden Inn is the fourth new downtown Boise hotel to open since January 2017. Photo by Teya Vitu.

With the opening of a new 132-room Hilton Garden Inn, Boise now has four new downtown hotels.

The Hilton Garden, which opened July 26 and Front and 13th streets, joins the 113-room Inn at 500 Capitol, which opened January 2017; the 150-room Hyatt Place, which opened May 2017; and the 185-room Residence Inn Boise Downtown City Center, which opened in November 2017.

The four are the first new downtown Boise hotels built since 2007. All have opened within blocks of the Boise Centre. They have added 580 rooms to the existing stock of 1,157 rooms at downtown hotels between Broadway and the Red Lion Boise Downtowner at Fairview Avenue and 18th Street.

A 138-room Home2 Suites by Hilton is planned for Front and Sixth streets.

The Hilton Garden Inn is the third component opening at Pioneer Crossing, a 5.02-acre, $60 million joint development by Gardner Company’s Boise office and Ball Ventures of Idaho Falls on a block bounded by Myrtle, Front, 11th and 13th streets on former Union Pacific Railroad property long known as Parcel B. B&T Hospitality Management of Idaho Falls is the operator.

The hotel follows the July 16 opening of Panera Bread at Myrtle and 11th streets and the April opening of a building that includes an 829-space parking garage and the offices of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, Boise Valley Economic Partnership and Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Pioneer’s five-story, 120,000-square-foot office building started construction in May at Myrtle and 13th streets.

The Hilton Garden Inn has a restaurant and 4,000 square feet of meeting space.

“We are getting a lot of bookings from corporate travelers and folks coming for the Boise State Football games,” said Angie Mago, B&T Hospitality’s corporate director of sales and marketing.


Tru by Hilton taps Idaho Falls for its second Idaho location

Tru by Hilton will open in Idaho Falls in spring 2019. Photo by Teya Vitu.

Tru by Hilton plans to build a hotel in Idaho Falls next spring, the second in Idaho for the brand.

Tru By Hilton Meridian Boise West open in April as one of the first 55 Tru hotels, according to the Tru website.

Construction on the four-story, 94-room Tru in Idaho Falls started in May next door to the Hilton Garden Inn on Lindsey Boulevard, the city’s hotel row. Both properties are owned by entities of B&T Hospitality Management Company, a partnership with Ball Ventures and Rusty Townsend of Idaho Falls.

B&T Hospitality Management will operate Tru. It also owns and operates the neighboring Hilton Garden Inn and the Home2 Suites in Idaho Falls.

The Idaho Falls Tru is one of at least 42 new hotels in Idaho built, under construction or in planning stages since 2015, adding a combined 3,751 rooms to the statewide hotel stock.

Hilton announced the Tru by Hilton brand in January 2016 and the first hotel opened in April 2017 in Oklahoma City.

Hilton describes the midscale Tru brand as “vibrant, affordable and young-at-heart.” Hilton is aggressively placing Tru hotel in the markets, announcing 100 sites at the outset and saying this is “fastest-growing hotel brand in company history.”

Tru by Hilton is the newest Hilton hotel brand. Image courtesy of B&T Hospitality Management.

These are the qualities that attracted the Idaho Falls developers to Tru.

“With a lot of millennial travelers, leisure travelers and SMERF business in the area, we felt like there was a need to be able to offer a new product that touches on these segments,” said Angie Mago, corporate director of sales and marketing at B&T Hospitality Management. SMERF stands for social, military, educational, religious and fraternal groups.

Method Studio of Salt Lake City and Rexburg is the architect. Headwaters Construction of Victor is the general contractor.

B&T Hospitality Management also manages these hotels: the soon-to-open Hilton Garden Inn Boise Downtown;  Hilton Garden Inn Clarksville in Tennessee; Hilton Garden Inn Lehi in Utah; Residence Inn by Marriott in  Gilbert, Arizona; Courtyard by Marriott in Fayetteville, Arkansas; Candlewood Suites in Plano, Texas; and Hyatt Place Lehi in Utah.

First Staybridge Suites in Idaho starts construction in Coeur d’Alene

Staybridge Suites construction started in June in Coeur d’Alene. Photo courtesy of Tharaldson Hospitality Management.

Structural work started in mid-June on a 96-room Staybridge Suites in Coeur d’Alene.

The $18 million, five-story extended-stay hotel will be part of a complex with the Regal Cinemas Riverstone 14-screen movie theater, condominiums, shopping and restaurants in the five-year-old Village at Riverstone lifestyle center. The expected opening is in June 2019.

The hotel will be the first Staybridge Suites in Idaho and is owned, developed and will be operated by franchisee Tharaldson Hospitality Management of Fargo, North Dakota. It’s Tharaldson’s first hotel in the Pacific Northwest. The company, established in 2011, has 40 hotels in 14 states in a southwest cluster (California, Nevada and Arizona), in the Rust Belt states and mid-Atlantic states. Tharaldson’s most recent hotel, a Hampton Inn, opened in Sparks, Nevada, in May.

Five more Tharaldson hotels are expected to open before the Coeur d’Alene hotel is completed, said Joe Blagg, development and finance manager at Tharaldson Hospitality.

“The Pacific Northwest is an area we’ve been looking at heavily for the last three to five years,” Blagg said.

Tharaldson is also in the permitting stage for a 100-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott at Spokane Airport, expected to start construction in three or four months. Tharaldson is also seeking to open hotels in the Seattle and Portland areas, he said.

“It started with us looking at Spokane,” Blagg said. “We might as well investigate Coeur d’Alene as well. We can see what other hotels are doing. They are all doing really well year-round. There’s enough room for us to come in with 96 rooms.”

Tharaldson has no immediate plans for a second Idaho hotel.

“I’ve looked a couple times in Boise before,” Blagg said. “I would not rule out something in Boise in the future.”

The architect is DesignCell Architecture of Las Vegas, which designs all the Tharaldson hotels. Local assistance is provided by Verdis, a Coeur d’Alene development company. The general contractor is Tharaldson Hospitality Development of Las Vegas.

The Staybridge Suites is among 40 hotels in Idaho opened since 2015 or now under construction or planned with a combined 3,657 rooms.

Staybridge Suites is one of InterContinental Hotels Group’s 14 brands that include Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Candlewood Suites, Crowne Plaza, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. Staybridge Suites was launched in 1997 with apartment-style suites for extended stays.

Staybridge has 257 hotels with nearly 28,000 rooms open in 40 states, Europe and the Middle East.

Auberge Resort in Ketchum may not open until end of 2021

The Auberge Resort is planned as a 66-room hotel at the southern edge of downtown Ketchum. Image courtesy of Jack Bariteau.

The 10-year saga of the Auberge Resort Sun Valley hotel in Ketchum could continue through 2021 after hopes for a December 2018 opening washed away in winter 2016-17.

The Ketchum City Council on June 6 granted developer Jack Bariteau a three-year extension on his development agreement to build the Auberge, a project that has been in the works since 2008 and now is a roughly 40-foot hole in the ground. The project, which hasn’t been touched in a year, is across the road from the Limelight Hotel Ketchum.

Bariteau and the city signed the first development agreement for the 66-room hotel in 2008. Excavation at the south edge of downtown started in fall 2016 with a targeted December 2018 completion date.

Work summarily ceased as the unusually cold and snowy 2016-17 winter resulted in a high water table along Trail Creek adjacent to the Auberge site. This prevented contractor access to the site, Bariteau said.

Foundation work has not resumed because Bariteau didn’t want to start work in September or October with winter looming. Now he wants to assemble the last piece of equity financing for an undisclosed amount to restart the $75 million project.

He hopes to wrap up financing “as soon as possible. It’s an ongoing process every day.”

Bariteau said construction would take 21 months.

Bariteau in 2017 asked for a fifth amendment to the 10-year-old development agreement, which the city council grudgingly granted – with conditions. The building permit can be cancelled if construction does not start within 180 days of June 6, according to a city staff memo that the council approved.

The agreement also calls for Bariteau to:

* Submit an employee housing plan with 18 beds by Oct. 31. Bariteau said he has an option to buy property in Ketchum to build a mixed-use structure that would have retail, offices and employee housing.

* Have all power lines on the project site moved underground by Dec. 31. Bariteau said he has paid Idaho Power $800,000 to relocate overhead power lines underground.

* Have full financing for the Auberge project by Sept. 30, 2019.

Shilo Inn in Twin Falls will become Holiday Inn

The Shilo Inn in Twin Falls is undergoing a complete renovation to become a Holiday Inn. Photo by Teya Vitu.

The largest hotel in Twin Falls is undergoing a substantial $5 million renovation to convert from a Shilo Inn & Suites to a full-service Holiday Inn by the end of the year.

The 128-room hotel on Blue Lakes Boulevard looks like a new hotel under construction.

“The exteriors will be completely new,” said Linsey Forni-Pullan, executive vice president at Pacific Inns, a Portland-based hospitality management and development company that owns the property. “Literally, all the guest rooms have been taken down to the studs.”

Pacific Inns acquired the Shilo Inn in March 2017 with the intention of upgrading the limited-service property to full-service Holiday Inn.

“We just see the potential of Twin Falls,” she said. “We have a lot of government business. Our team loves selling it for groups and tours.”

Pacific Inns has two accountants who live in Nampa, Forni-Pullan said.

A 2,200-square-foot restaurant serving breakfast and dinner will be added and the meeting rooms will be expanded to 2,000 square feet.

James Talcott Construction of Great Falls, Montana, is the general contractor. Case Design Group of Portland is the architect.

A Holiday Inn will emerge by the end of the year from the current Shilo Inn in Twin Falls. Image courtesy of Pacific Inns.

The building is being renovated in two phases, with the first half of renovated rooms ready for visitors in June or July, but the conversion to Holiday Inn will not occur until all the renovations are complete, Forni-Pullan said.

As the largest hotel in the Magic Valley, the renovation draws attention along Twin Falls’ biggest shopping street.

The Shilo Inn in Twin Falls is the only Idaho property for Pacific Inns, which has 27 hotels in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Texas and Mississippi, the latter two an acquisition from a single owner.

The refurbished guest rooms will include five kids suites with bunk beds. The 128 rooms will measure from 430 to 672 square feet.

Once the Shilo Inn becomes a Holiday Inn, owned by InterContinental Hotels Group or IHG, Forni-Pullan will tap into more corporate business for Twin Falls.

“IHG negotiates rates with thousands of corporate accounts,” she said. “We will be pursuing that.”

Home2 Suites garage to start construction in September, hotel to follow

Home2 Suites at Fifth and Front streets would be the fifth new downtown Boise hotel in three years. Image from Capital City Development Corp.

A Wisconsin group is expected to start construction in September on a new 540-space, seven-level parking garage at Fifth and Front streets in downtown Boise as part of a seven-story, 138-room Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel project.

The garage would wrap around the rear and Fifth Street sides of the hotel, said Clay Carley, general manager of Front Street Investors LLC, which owns the roughly 1-acre property upon which the hotel and garage will be built.

Carley said the Middleton, Wisconsin-based Raymond Group would likely start construction on the Home2 Suites about three months after garage work begins or around the end of the year. The garage would open in fall 2019 with the hotel’s expected opening at the end of 2019 or early 2020.

Plans for this project were originally submitted to the city in December 2016 but were shelved until they were resubmitted in November 2017.

The Home2 Suites by Hilton would be built on this surface parking lot across from C.W. Moore Plaza (rear). Photo by Teya Vitu.

The hotel would be the fifth new downtown Boise hotel to start construction since 2015 and at least the 39th hotel either opened, under construction or in planning across Idaho. The Home2 Suites would be the third in Idaho after the Idaho Falls hotel that opened in September 2015 and the Nampa hotel under construction next to the Ford Idaho Center.

Home2 Suites by Hilton is a pet-friendly, extended-stay, all-suites chain that first opened in February 2011 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The chain now has 277 hotels open in the U.S. with another 52 expected to open by January 2019, according to the Home2 Suites website.

Raymond Group would own and operate the hotel, and Front Street Investors would own the garage. Raymond Group already owns the Hampton Inn & Suites at Myrtle Street and Capitol Boulevard in downtown Boise.

The Capital City Development Corp. on May 14 agreed to by 200 monthly passes in the garage for $360,000 for seven years with the passes to be resold to the public.

First Street Partners could cancel the parking pass agreement with a 30-day notice. The owners of the nearby The Fowler Apartments similarly had an agreement to sell 89 of its 189 parking space to CCDC as public parking spaces for $2.6 million, but developer LocalConstruct decided to keep all the spaces for The Fowler before the apartments opened earlier this year, said Ross Borden, CCDC’s finance and administration director.

The Home2 Suites garage (orange structure) will be behind the hotel. Image courtesy of Front Street Investors.

Borden said the $2.6 million will now serve as seed funding for the estimated $70 million new Boise main library project.

The estimated cost for the garage is $18.25 million and the hotel cost is estimated at $31 million. Gary Brink & Associates of Middleton, Wisc., is the architect for both. ESI Construction of Meridian is the general contractor for the garage.

The hotel/garage project includes a .32-acre sliver along Front Street owned by CCDC. The CCDC Board of Commissioners on May 14 also agreed to sell that thin triangular strip to Front Street Investors for $300,000 on the condition that the garage and hotel or other $25 million commercial enterprise is completed within three years.

The sale agreement also calls for construction to start by Jan. 1 or the sliver reverts back to CCDC. The redevelopment agency also plans to spend $1.478 million on the hotel/garage property to build two public plaza/parks for $165,000, do streetscape improvements for $581,517, carry out utility work for $636,775 and spend $94,750 on street and alley improvements.

The expected $2.8 million increase in property tax revenues generated by the hotel and garage improvements is expected to cover these public improvements, said Laura Williams, CCDC’s project manager for property development.

The two parks/plazas would be at Fifth and Front and at Sixth at the back corner of the property. Carley said the Fifth and Front space would be a dog park to go along with the pet-friendly mantra of Home2 Suites.


Fifth downtown Boise hotel in the works

A 138-room hotel is proposed for Front Street between Fifth and Sixth streets. Image for Boise Planning and Development Services website.
A 138-room hotel is proposed for Front Street between Fifth and Sixth streets. Image for Boise Planning and Development Services website.

Work could start this spring on the fifth new downtown Boise hotel to be built in just over two years.

Old Boise General Manager Clay Carley and a partner in Wisconsin resubmitted a shelved 2016 proposal for city approval in November. The hotel would be located on Front Street between Fifth and Sixth streets.

The Raymond Group of Middleton, Wisc., and Carley propose an eight-story, 138-room extended-stay hotel with a roughly 600-space parking garage that will be open to the public.

Construction could start late in the first quarter or second quarter of 2018 and take about two years, said Brian Waters, design manager at The Raymond Group.

Since Raymond initially applied for city approval in fall 2016, three downtown Boise hotels with a combined 448 rooms have opened and a fourth hotel with 150 rooms is under construction. Barry Perkel, real estate director at The Raymond Group, declined to comment about the one-year delay, but plans to move ahead even with 600 new hotel rooms nearby.

“They have all been absorbed reasonably well,” Perkel said.

Perkel has not revealed the hotel brand under consideration but did say the hotel would be extended-stay.

The Raymond Group works primarily with Hampton Inn and some Marriott and Hilton brands. The Raymond Group has operated the Hampton Inn & Suites, three blocks from the proposed new hotel site, since it opened in 2007.

The Raymond Group manages 36 hotels in 12 states, all of them between Ohio and North Dakota – except the Hampton Inn in Boise and a Hampton Inn & Suites that opened in September in Portland’s Pearl District.

Gary Brink & Associates of Middleton, Wisc., is the architect.

Hotel Ketchum breathes new boutique life into former Bellemont Hotel

The Hotel Ketchum gives a new face to the old Bellemont Hotel property. Image courtesy of Hotel Ketchum.
The Hotel Ketchum gives a new face to the old Bellemont Hotel property. Image courtesy of Hotel Ketchum.

A new Hotel Ketchum is being crafted from an existing building.

Owners and brothers Michael and Aaron Brown have stripped the 1989 former Bellemont Hotel, in the north end of Ketchum, down to bare walls and floors. The new 58-room boutique Hotel Ketchum is expected to open Dec. 22.

“You name it, we touched it,” Michael Brown said. “The casements were old. The carpet was old. Everything was in disrepair. We put in new everything. We had to redo the pool, redo the spa. It needed a lot of work. It need a whole new identity.”

Even with a Dec. 22 opening, crews were still busily working inside the Hotel Ketchum the last week of November. Photo courtesy of Hotel Ketchum.
Even with a Dec. 22 opening, crews were still busily working inside the Hotel Ketchum the last week of November. Photo courtesy of Hotel Ketchum.

The Browns, owners of Colorado-based HayMax Capital, acquired the bankrupt Bellemont in a June 2016 foreclose sale for $4.45 million and invested $4 million in the renovation that started in summer. They also own the Tamarack Lodge in Ketchum and the Hotel Aspen and Molly Gibson Lodge, both in Aspen, Colo.

All four properties are independent boutique hotels.

“We want to be unique here,” Brown said. “I love the creative flexibility to be able to live outside what Marriott wants you to look like.”

The architect was Michael Doty Associates of Ketchum. The general contractor is Conrad Brothers.

The Hotel Ketchum design represents Sun Valley culture, he said.

“We wanted to get away from ‘This could be a hotel anywhere in Idaho or the U.S.,’” Brown said.

A large mural of two sheep by a local artist and titled “Lucky Ewe” adorns a public wall. More local art decorates all the guest rooms. Brown said the carpeting mimics a corduroy groomed ski run. Old potato sacks imprinted with Idaho towns decorate the lobby walls.

The Browns are adding elements the Bellevue never had: a coffee ship named Sheep Town Coffee (opening fall 2018) and serving breakfast, and a “gear garage” next to the lobby, where guests can store their outdoor gear or rent snowshoes and cruiser bikes. Brown is considering a dog wash stand for the gear garage.

The Hotel Ketchum lobby will double as a "hangout space." Image courtesy of Hotel Ketchum.
The Hotel Ketchum lobby will double as a “hangout space.” Image courtesy of Hotel Ketchum.

“We doubled the size of the lobby to create a hangout space, a place where you could mingle,” he said.

Also on the property is a separate 4,500-square-foot restaurant building, vacant for years, once home to The Rustic Moose, which moved across Ketchum and was renamed Moose Girls, ultimately relocating to Bend, Ore., in 2015.

“When we purchased the space, we weren’t sure what we wanted to do there,” Brown said. “A liquor license became available. We’re looking for a great operator. We’re talking to locals. We’re talking to folks from California.”

Hotel Ketchum retail

The Hotel Ketchum expects to open Dec. 22 at the north end of Ketchum. Photo courtesy of Hotel Ketchum.
The Hotel Ketchum expects to open Dec. 22 at the north end of Ketchum. Photo courtesy of Hotel Ketchum.

Hotel Ketchum also has storefronts. One tenant will be the fourth local shop for outdoors goods purveyor Sturtevants. Three other retail tenants have signed letters of intent, said Paul Kenny, broker at Paul Kenny & Matt Bogue Commercial Real Estate, the Hotel Ketchum’s leasing agent.

“The new owners have done such an amazing job of renovating the entire property that it is now the hot spot to locate a retail or restaurant business,” Kenny said. “Even before the spaces have been improved, we have had great success attracting tenants.”

The Hotel Ketchum opens one year after the Limelight Hotel Ketchum, the first new hotel for the city since 1993. The Auberge Resort also is now under construction across from the Limelight. Both are unbranded and independent, as is the Monarch Motel in Moscow, which is halfway through converting the 1950s Royal Motor Inn into a modern boutique hotel.

“(Hotel Ketchum) is the cornerstone of the continuing Sun Valley/Ketchum renaissance,” said Scott Fortner, executive director at Visit Sun Valley, the region’s visitors bureau. “You have a resort experience and a high-end downtown hotel experience. There’s a need for it, for sure.”

Moscow’s Royal Motor Inn is spiffed up and rechristened

A 1950s Moscow motel was remodeled with a “minimalist Danish mid-century modern look” and renamed the Monarch Motel. Photo courtesy of Nikki Woodland.
A 1950s Moscow motel was remodeled with a “minimalist Danish mid-century modern look” and renamed the Monarch Motel. Photo courtesy of Nikki Woodland.

The Royal Motor Inn street sign has finally been retired in downtown Moscow, two years after the new owners rechristened the mid-century, downtown property the Monarch Motel.

The new Monarch Motel sign went up the last week of October, funded by a $5,000 Kickstarter campaign.

Brett and Nikki Woodland, owners of the Nectar and Bloom restaurants in Moscow, bought the Royal Motor Inn in November 2015 and immediately started renovations, one room at a time, on the 38-room motel built in the late 1950s. Over the decades, the hotel had gained an unsavory reputation for offering weekly and monthly rentals that drew drug use and transient guests, Nikki Woodland said.

Nikki and Brett Woodland
Nikki and Brett Woodland

The motel has been fixed up in stages.

“We finished the 18th room Nov. 3,” said Nikki Woodland, explaining they didn’t want to put up a Monarch sign until they had half the motel remodeled. “We don’t have a lot of money.”

Once the remodel is complete, the Monarch will have 33 rooms. Remodeling the other rooms could go as fast as about seven months, if the Woodlands land an investor, or once again take two years.

“We are looking for investors so we can do the second half much faster,” she said.

The Woodlands stripped the Royal Motor Inn down to the shell and gave the Monarch a “minimalist Danish mid-century modern look.” New wood flooring graces the downstairs rooms with carpeting upstairs to minimize noise, Woodland said.

The Monarch Motel sign went up in October - two years after the Royal Motor Inn was renamed Monarch Motel. Photo courtesy of Nikki Woodland.
The Monarch Motel sign went up in October – two years after the Royal Motor Inn was renamed Monarch Motel. Photo courtesy of Nikki Woodland.

Nikki Woodland estimates the full remodel will cost about $500,000.

The complete renovation at the Monarch can serve as a “new” motel for Moscow. There are 35 hotels newly opened, under construction or in planning around Idaho, but until the Monarch began renovations, Moscow wasn’t part of the hotel renaissance. Sandpoint, Mountain Home and McCall are also larger population or tourism centers without hotel construction or renovation.


Red Lion in downtown Boise is for sale

The Red Lion in downtown is for sale as are 10 other Red Lions across the Pacific Northwest. Photo by Teya Vitu.
The Red Lion in downtown is for sale, as are 10 other Red Lions across the Pacific Northwest. Photo by Teya Vitu.

The 182-room Red Lion Hotel Boise Downtowner is for sale, as is the 163-room Red Lion Templin’s Hotel in Post Falls.

The two are among the last 18 hotels that Red Lion Hotels Corp. still owns. More than a 1,000 Red Lion hotels have been franchised off in the past three years, according to a Red Lion news release.

The Boise hotel is among 11 Red Lions in the greater Pacific Northwest that have been listed with CBRE, the Los Angeles-based commercial real estate giant. Red Lion will retain the other seven hotels for now.

The Red Lion has been in place at 1800 Fairview since 2001-02. Previously, that property had a DoubleTree Hotel.

The seven-story, 140,715-square-foot structure was built in 1960 and is assessed at $6.1 million, according to the Ada County Assessor.

The Red Lion is the sixth-largest Boise hotel, soon to be seventh-largest pending the opening of the 185-room Residence Inn Boise Downtown City Center.

The Red Lion is larger than all of the 30-plus hotels recently opened or under construction in Idaho, except the Residence Inn. Its size and the fact that the land underneath is leased could be a stumbling block to finding a buyer, said David Wali, executive vice president at Gardner Company, which is building a Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Boise.

“There are a lot of rooms,” said Wali, part of the investor group that owns 40 percent of the Riverside Hotel, the largest in the Treasure Valley. “When your do 200-room renovations, that’s a lot of money.”

Wali said a year ago he did ask if the Red Lion was available but got no response.

“There isn’t a single piece of downtown real estate I don’t find interesting,” said Wali, who has an ownership share in numerous downtown Boise properties. “I will always look.”

He added there could be one buyer for all 11 Red Lions or they could sell individually. The others are in Salt Lake City; Spokane, Olympia, Pasco, Richland, and Port Angeles, Washington; and Bend, Oregon. There are also two in northern California, in Eureka and Redding.