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Committee discusses hotel design

BEMIDJI -- A committee reviewing the design of a Country Inn & Suites connected to the Sanford Center wants more information before approving the project.

The South Shore Design Review Committee, which includes city councilors, as well as city and planning staff, met Thursday afternoon with the project's developer and architects. The hotel had gone to the design review committee last year, but some changes to the building's roofline and other features changed since then.

"I wouldn't say the concept has changed drastically," said Dan Andersen, the architect for the project. "I think we still have, and what I'm trying to achieve, is a mixed-use look."

Hotel developer Tripp Snyder, chief executive officer of Bay Ridge Properties International, said the proposed changes were driven by cost.

"So the engineering changes we've made the roofline and the balconies, have reduced the cost by about $1 million," Snyder said.

The committee will meet again with the full plans on Aug. 23.

"I don't feel comfortable taking a vote today," Councilor Nancy Erickson said. "Because I don't feel like I have enough information to make a decision."

Bay Ridge closed on the city-owned land on Aug. 2, a year and a half after the purchase agreement was first signed. The developers paid $756,000 for the land on the west side of the Sanford Center.

Snyder indicated Thursday an official groundbreaking could take place right after Labor Day in early September. Construction of the hotel would take eight to nine months.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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