BELLINGHAM - A potential deal with a hotel developer could bring a Holiday Inn to Bellingham International Airport.
During their 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 2 meeting, Port of Bellingham commissioners will be asked to approve a letter of intent with Hotel Services Group LLC of Mount Vernon.
Hotel Services Group is proposing construction of a Holiday Inn hotel that would include a restaurant, about 7,000 square feet of meeting space, an indoor pool, underground and surface parking and perhaps 156 guest rooms.
According to a press release from the port, the company estimates the construction cost for the facility would be approximately $18.5 million. It estimates that about 40 employees would work at the completed hotel and another 40-50 would work in the restaurant.
Hotel Services Group, established in 2007, now operates eight hotels in Washington state, including locations in Chehalis, Sumner, Marysville, Burlington and Oak Harbor.
The proposed development site is 3.77 acres of port property south of the Pacific Cataract Laser Institute on Mitchell Way, across the street from the commercial air terminal. The proposed lease is for 50 years, with a 25-year renewal option.
The letter of intent is the next step in a process that began in fall 2012, when the port asked interested developers to submit their proposals for an airport hotel. The port received four written proposals from developers proposing national-brand-affiliated hotels. Port officials reviewed the four proposals and interviewed the submitters before deciding to move ahead with Hotel Services Group, according to the port press release.
The press release describes the letter of intent as a preliminary agreement that outlines the proposed transaction and its terms. If the commission approves the letter of intent, both the Port and the developer would have 30 days to conduct a more detailed study of the deal before making a commitment.
Hotel Services Group would pay the port $10,000 for the preliminary agreement.
If the port and the company both want to proceed, the commission would vote on a lease at its June 4, 2013, meeting.
"We recognize that a full-service hotel is an important addition to our growing airport," said Port Executive Director Rob Fix in a press release. "We carefully studied the proposals we received so that we could feel confident in the hotel developer we are recommending."
Dan Mitzel, chairman and managing member of the company, promised a first-class place if the project moves ahead as planned.
"We are looking forward to creating a full service hotel that will establish a first class lodging, restaurant, meetings and banquets venue that the Port of Bellingham, the City of Bellingham and all of Whatcom County will be proud of," Mitzel said in a press release.
The Time of the April 2 port meeting was corrected March 29, 2013.
Reach JOHN STARK at email@example.com or call 715-2274.