Fairfield Inn owner eyes new 84-room hotel on U.S. Highway 40 | SteamboatToday.com

Fairfield Inn owner eyes new 84-room hotel on U.S. Highway 40

— Bob Amin, owner of the Fairfield Inn by Marriott in Steamboat Springs, has entered the city planning process seeking a permit to build a new four-story, 84-room "franchise" hotel on the city's south side.

The new hotel would be built a short distance from Amin's existing property across U.S. Highway 40 from the Steamboat Christian Center. And the new hotel won't necessarily be branded a Marriott product.

Fairfield Inn General Manager David Bradshaw said Amin is in the midst of meeting with the franchise committees of several hotel groups.

"We're working with different franchises right now," Bradshaw said. "Whether it's Marriott, Hilton IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) … there's Choice Hotels … we want to put a very nice project out there. We'd like to have balconies (to take advantage of ski area views), and a nice public patio area with fire pits."

Each of the hotel's four stories would comprise 12,325 square feet for a total of 49,300.

Senior City Planner Bob Keenan urged the developers in a letter to consider linking the property to city trails.

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"There is a great opportunity to provide a unique amenity to your guests by providing connections to the Walton Creek Trail," Keenan wrote.

Bradshaw said the Fairfield Inn is currently undergoing a $700,000 remodel. The most visible change has been the addition of stone to the facade of the hotel entrance as well as to the stucco ventilation chases atop the roof. All of the guest rooms and hallways are getting new carpet, and the business center is being updated with today's technology, Bradshaw added.

Bradshaw said ideally, Amin would like to break ground on the new hotel in early summer.

"We're just in the planning stages right now," he said, "and there's a lot of work to do."

The name of the development entity is Gray Stone LLC, and Amin owns the site. The project has undergone a review by the city's Technical Advisory Committee to point out any issues with considerations like access. Keenan said hotels are a conditional use in the community commercial zone district where the site is located. He does not expect any public hearings involving the hotel to take place until after the first of the year.

The new hotel would be built just to the south of the current shared access with the Fairfield. Amin actually owns a potential third hotel site between the existing hotel and the proposed building. Walton Creek flows through the willows just to the east of the hotel site, and Bradshaw said one of the most technical aspects of the development is meeting the requirement that the site be at least one foot above the 100-year flood plain.

The entrance road to the hotel site is the unconnected western stub of Stone Lane, which is accessed off Whistler Road and dead-ends on the east side of the creek. The long-term plan for Stone Lane, sometimes referred to as the Stone Lane Connector, is for it to cross the creek to connect directly to U.S. 40.

Amin purchased the Fairfield Inn in 2006 for between $3.5 million and $4 million. He previously had developed the former Days Inn and operated it for years before selling it. That property now is branded a La Quinta Inn.

In 2009, Amin entered the city process hoping to add 23 suites to the 65-room Fairfield Inn, acknowledging at the time that he wouldn't go forward until the economy improved. That addition has not been built, but Bradshaw said that although the new hotel is a higher priority, the addition to the Fairfield is still a possibility.

Bradshaw added that U.S. 40 hotels here are in high demand.

"This past winter was tremendous, I think for the entire city, not just our hotel, but all hotels are doing well," he said.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1