Back on the Front Burner: Long Delay of North Bend hotel project stemmed from developer, not city

[** Article corrected to read opening date “fall 2018,” but realistically spring 2019. **]

It’s been four years since a developer announced the possibility of a mid-range hotel in downtown North Bend.

Then 2 1/2 years ago site work began on the approximate 8.5 acre land parcel at the corner of Bendigo Blvd and South Fork Ave in North Bend Ave, including excavation, installation of storm drainage collection and conveyance systems, and paving of the parking lot.

In October 2015 the hotel chain was finally announced – a Marriott Fairfield Inn was coming to North Bend.

A short time later work stopped. The vacant – and partially paved – lot sits empty surrounded by a chain link fence. The hotel that was initially projected to open in spring 2017 still hasn’t broken ground.

Site of future Marriott Fairfield Inn in North Bend at the corner of South Fork Ave and Bendigo Blvd.

According to the North Bend City Administrator Londi Lindell, the delays were the result of the developer, who chose to prioritize other hotel projects outside of North Bend. She said the city would love to have a hotel for citizens and the community – and agreed that the partially completed [hotel] site is an eyesore.

Since construction stopped, some residents (via social media) have blamed the city for the delay, claiming it was caused by city staff being too busy to process permits, but Lindell and Public Works Director Mark Rigos said that isn’t the case.

Via email Lindell said that an applicant (i.e. a developer) can choose not to pursue construction, which happened with the hotel project over the past year and a half. She explained, “The city doesn’t have control over the pace of a project other than to cancel a permit and require an applicant to start the process again.”

City staff, though, did continue to contact the developer and encouraged him to move forward with the hotel – and it appears the project is back on track. The developer now says the North Bend hotel now on the “front burner,” resulting in a lot of recent city permitting activity.

Public Works Director Mark Rigos said the project is nearing Phase II engineering plan approval for development onsite and offsite (right-of-way improvements), with staff awaiting the re-submittal of engineering plans by the developer’s engineer, Abbey Road Group.  [Phase I was completed 1.5 years ago.]

At the April 18th city council meeting, council members will be asked to approve a Developer Extension Agreement (DEA) for a 54,800 sq. ft., 100-room Marriott Fairfield Inn, which allows the developer to construct street, sanitary sewer, water, and storm drainage improvements in public right-of-way areas.

City staff anticipates construction on the hotel to re-start in the next few months, once those civil engineering plans are re-submitted and approved.

As for an approximate opening date for the Fairfield Inn, both Rigos and Lindell said the developer is optimistic and hoping to open fall 2018, but they felt spring 2019 might be more realistic.

 

Schematic design of Fairfield Inn planned for North Bend.

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Mickey Gallagher says:

    So if a 100-room hotel is going to be built in North Bend, is there really a need for another hotel in Snoqualmie? That’s a rhetorical question, folks.

  2. 1. With the Casino just down the road, both of these hotels will probably stay full.
    2. Where is parking for this one, though? It is right by the river and in an area that floods. Is parking going to be underground or somewhere offsite?

  3. Chris Anderson says:

    I hate to bring this up, but where exactly are all the minimum wage employees (from both properties) going to live?
    -dis here be one top heavy bubble…

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