The Britt City Council is still hoping to land a hotel in its commercial park.
And it may be getting closer.
On Tuesday, April 16, City Administrator/Clerk Debra Sawyer told city council members there were three parties who have expressed interest in developing a hotel in the Burgardt Commercial Park.
“It’s on my ticker,” she said. “That’s my biggest push.”
If a development moves forward, it would be the first in Britt’s commercial park, which features nine lots positioned between U.S. Highway 18 and Diagonal Street on nearly eight acres of land owned by the city.
At previous meetings, Brookstone Lodge & Suites and Boulders Inn & Suites by Cobblestone were named as interested developers.
Sawyer said a couple of weeks ago a man with a construction company approached the city about investors who are interested in building in the commercial park.
“The city put out that we’d have the same package that we talked about initially with the chunk of ground and $250,000 to BIDCO to the investors,” said Mayor Ryan Arndorfer.
In January, the City Council unanimously approved pulling $250,000 out of its local-option sales tax CD, or certificate of deposit, up for renewal and earmarking it for a hotel development should it proceed.
The local-option sales tax funds and land would be granted by the city to Britt Industrial Development Corp., or BIDCO, for the development and be paid back as individuals invest and the hotel produces.
A recent BIDCO hotel survey questionnaire sent to local businesses showed 96 percent of the 25 people who responded said their organization or business needed somewhere in Britt to accommodate overnight guests and visitors.
Of those who responded, 28 percent were in retail, 16 percent were in financial and 8 percent were in event venue industries.
Nearly half of respondents said they’d use a hotel one to three times a year. Nearly 80 percent said their stay would be on a weekday versus weekend.
Top amenities desired were Wi-Fi, business center with printer, copier, fax and scanner, conference room and a bar/lounge area.
About 32 percent of respondents said they’d consider investing in a hotel as an organization or business and 18 percent would consider doing so individually.
“That ain’t bad now, is it?” said Councilman Paul Verbrugge.
Arndorfer said in conversations he’s had with developers, between $300,000 and $400,000 more than what the city’s putting forward is needed in local investments to secure a hotel.
He said BIDCO is working on a plan to recruit local investors, but much of their interest will depend on who the City Council selects to develop.
Boulders, in Arndorfer’s opinion, would be able to make something happen quickly, but it requires a hotel study, which costs between $5,000 and $7,000 and might not support the development of one.
The other two developers don’t require a hotel study, Sawyer said.
The council encouraged Sawyer and Arndorfer to continue working with developers to have something to present to them in the future.