Old Mill hotel construction to start

Developers plan to build a 114-room Hampton with indoor pool this spring

By Elon Glucklich / The Bulletin / @EGlucklich

Published Apr 25, 2013 at 05:00AM

Construction could start within weeks on the newest addition to Bend's Old Mill District: a three-story, 114-room Hampton Inn and Suites, just south of the Les Schwab Amphitheater.

William Smith Properties Inc., the Old Mill District developer, and Idaho-based AmeriTel Inns proposed the project in September. They applied for a building permit with the city of Bend earlier this month, looking to build on a 4-acre parcel near the intersection of Columbia Street at Southwest Shevlin Hixon Drive.

Construction crews have been working intermittently at the site to clear debris and get it ready for development.

“We're working on getting going as soon as possible,” said Brad Charles, a vice president with AmeriTel, though he declined to give an exact start date.

“We're just trying to get our contractors lined up. We'll know more in about two weeks when we have our schedule together.”

The permit application lists the project price tag at $3.1 million. Planning documents show the hotel will include an indoor pool and conference rooms.

Officials at William Smith Properties said they expect the hotel to be ready by spring or summer 2014.

City planning officials said during preliminary meetings last year that the developers would have to address a lack of available water storage before the project could move forward. The nearest water storage pump station, at McKay Park, is at capacity.

But the city has a fix. It's in the early stages of installing a new pump station adjacent to the old one, said city engineer Russ Grayson.

The new station would add enough water capacity to meet the Hampton Inn and Suites' needs, and accommodate any future growth in the Old Mill area, Grayson said.

AmeriTel's interest in the project goes back to before the 2008 real estate crash. The company built an AmeriTel Inn Hotel on Southwest Bluff Drive in 2005, and rebranded it as the Hilton Garden Inn Bend last year.

They had planned on a second hotel in the Old Mill area since shortly after completing the first one, a company official told The Bulletin in October. But several proposals fell through, and they put those plans on hold when the market tanked.

AmeriTel develops Hampton Inn and Hilton Garden Inn hotels through a franchise partnership.

A Hampton Inn operated in Bend near Northeast Third Street and Butler Market Road from 1988 to 2008, before the owner converted it into Bend Inn and Suites.