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City will study feasibility of hotel construction

The city of Farmington will pay up to $5,000 for half of a market study to determine whether a hotel will work in the city.

City council members approved the study Monday in partnership with Cobblestone Hotels, which has shown an interest in building in Farmington. The city first talked with representatives from Cobblestone in June at the League of Minnesota Cities annual conference and John Seibert, Cobblestone's vice president of development, met with the city's economic development authority earlier this month.

Cobblestone markets itself to smaller cities that are not served by larger chains. It currently has 25 hotels in the Midwest — typically 31, 36 or 44-room facilities — with another 10 under construction. Crookston is the only other Minnesota listed on the company's website.

Initial discussions about Farmington focused on a $3 million facility with 44 rooms.

There is no specific site identified for the hotel.City administrator David McKnight said there has been talk of building on the Vermillion River Crossings property at the corner of Highway 50 and Denmark Avenue.

"That's going to be up to (the developer) if we get to that stage of building or looking to build," McKnight said.

But before construction happens the developer wants to make sure Farmington can support a hotel. McKnight said it's not unusual for cities to partner with businesses on a feasibility study.

"It does show some local buy-in," McKnight told city council members Monday. "They don't really do this without some city participation."

Several city council members have said they hear a lot of questions about whether Farmington will get a hotel.

"We're going to finally know the answer, can Farmington support a hotel today, and if not how much larger do we need to be," McKnight said.

McKnight expects the city's half of the feasibility study to cost between $2,500 and $5,000. The city council set a cap of $5,000 on its part of the project.

The study will likely take place still this year.

"It's actually going to be boots on the ground and going to different businesses and different parts of the city," mayor Todd Larson said.

The results of the study will tell the city whether the city will support a hotel, and what size facility might work.

Larson said Monday the developer is confident a hotel will work in Farmington.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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