Prospect Park hotel to start construction

by Sadman Rahman

CPM Development will begin construction of a four-star hotel next week in Prospect Park, though the building will be bigger than developers originally planned. After a meeting with the Minneapolis City Planning Commission earlier this month, CPM earned approval to build a 4,000-square-foot extension to a Hilton DoubleTree hotel going up on the intersection of Huron Boulevard Southeast and Essex Street Southeast. Some harbor concerns that the extended-stay establishment may not be the best addition to the surrounding community. The hotel is intended to primarily host University of Minnesota faculty and staff as well as extended-stay guests visiting the UniversityâÄôs new Ambulatory Care Center, CPM owner Daniel Oberpriller said. The cityâÄôs 10-day discussion period ended last week, giving CPM the go-ahead to begin construction, said Minneapolis City Planner Aaron Hanauer. The hotel wonâÄôt host any additional businesses, but it will provide its own Hilton restaurant for guests, Oberpriller said. The hotel will also serve University of Minnesota Medical Center visitors, said Richard Bolan, Humphrey School of Public Affairs land use planning emeritus professor. Still, Bolan said he doesnâÄôt think the hotel will get much use from visiting faculty members and researchers, who usually tend to stay in less expensive areas. âÄúIt doesnâÄôt have to be a four- or five-star hotel,âÄù Bolan said. âÄúTheyâÄôre not looking for entertainment, but a decent meal at a moderate price.âÄù University officials like Capital Planning and Project Management Planning Director Monique MacKenzie are worried the hotel will block traffic traveling along Huron Boulevard Southeast, a street that leads to the freeway. âÄúWeâÄôre not convinced that the city has done enough to consider the impacts on transportation in the area,âÄù she said. Bolan said he thinks the DoubleTree will be competitive with the Commons Hotel along Washington Avenue Southeast because the latter may attract visiting researchers who want to stay closer to the Green Line light rail and the UniversityâÄôs science and engineering buildings. But the hotel likely wonâÄôt house visiting faculty members working on the West Bank campus, Bolan said, because theyâÄôre more likely to stay at the nearby Courtyard Marriott hotel. Still, he said he thinks CPM sees the hotel as a safe investment. âÄúThey probably see a future for at least five years because they will want to make their money back,âÄù he said, adding that visitors will probably go to cheaper restaurants nearby before paying for hotel meals. Construction on the hotel is expected to be completed by fall of next year, Oberpriller said.