BEMIDJI - Country Inn & Suites, the planned Sanford Center-attached hotel, is expected to open in April 2013.
Developer R.S. Tripp Snyder said Tuesday that site grading could begin by the end of July.
"It's kind of go time," said Dan Anderson, project architect.
The South Shore Design Review Committee met Tuesday afternoon at Bemidji City Hall to review plans for the 121-room, four-level hotel. Kraus-Anderson has been hired as the general contractor.
"KA is pretty anxious, as is our whole team," said Anderson, with D.J. Andersen Design, as he took part in the meeting by phone.
Several steps still must be accomplished before work can begin, including the final sale of land and signing of the developer's agreement and final approval from the Design Review Committee and Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board, which next meets July 11.
The one-hour meeting ended with committee members granting conditional approval of the project. They agreed to meet again to review final landscaping, lighting and drainage plans and examine in person the materials and colors to be used in construction of the building, which includes an attached Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant.
Andersen said the palette is planned to match and complement the Sanford Center.
"With the right color tone, it's going to look phenomenal," Andersen said. "We're connected to that building. We're going to tie it all together."
He discussed the colors planned, but suggested that the committee review them on site.
Bemidji City Manager John Chattin said, overall, he was pleased with the project plan. "I like the style and, if the colors come in matching or close to the events center, if they compliment the events center, I think it's going to be..."
"A beautiful asset," said Councilor Kevin Waldhausen, finishing Chattin's thought.
The complex will be attached to the Sanford Center at the entrance to the George W. Neilson Conference and Convention Center. The Country Inn & Suites itself would be farthest from the Sanford Center as the Buffalo Wild Wings would be located between the hotel and events center.
The 5,300-square-foot restaurant will have seating for up to 250 in the summer and 225 in the off-season.
The County Inn & Suites will have 16 rooms on the first floor and 35 each on the second, third and fourth floors. Lakeside rooms will have balconies.
Two volleyball courts are planned to be constructed by developers on city property near the Sanford Center.
Andersen said the Country Inn & Suites wants to set the stage for waterfront and boardwalk activity occurring all the way from the Sanford Center down to the Green Mill.
"Volleyball courts are imperative to the experience of the waterfront," he said.