BRITT | A hotel developer is interested in building in Britt.
That’s what Mayor Ryan Arndorfer told the Britt City Council during its regular meeting Tuesday, Jan. 8.
“He is ready to go in Britt whenever we say go,” he said.
Arndorfer said Roger Bell, a developer with Brookstone Lodge & Suites, would like to build a 32-unit hotel — similar to the ones it owns in Algona and Emmetsburg — in the Burgardt Commercial Park off U.S. Highway 18.
If the development moves forward, it’d be the first in Britt’s commercial park, which features nine lots positioned between Highway 18 and Diagonal Street on nearly eight acres of land owned by the city.
“It’s something that’s been needed for a long time,” Councilman Paul Verbrugge said.
Councilman Curt Gast agreed.
“If we can make it happen,” he said.
To secure the hotel, the developer would be looking for about $300,000 to $400,000 in local investments, Arndorfer said, adding he believed people in the community would be interested.
“As you all saw in the results of our community survey, a hotel is something that our community members would really like to see,” he said.
Arndorfer said he and City Administrator/Clerk Debra Sawyer have had conversations with members of the Britt Industrial Development Corp., or BIDCO, and Speer Financial Inc., the city’s financial advisers, about Britt’s options to help “push this forward.”
The most probable solution involves an agreement between the city and BIDCO, he said explaining how the city could grant it land and local-option sales tax funds for the project that’d be paid back as individuals invest and the hotel produces.
“Wanted to put that out there just to get the feeling of what you guys thought,” Arndorfer said. “Again my main reasoning for this is because I think once we can actually say the project is happening, then investors will come forward.”
During the meeting, 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 the hotel development should it proceed. The remaining $150,000 will go into a new CD.
A formal agreement hasn’t been presented — or acted upon — to the city.
Arndorfer said based on area hotel occupancy, the developer is “very optimistic” that Britt could be its “highest-performing hotel.”
Annual events, like Hobo Days, Britt Draft Horse Show, Hancock County District Fair and Hancock County Speedway races, as well as area weddings, funerals and other activities that attract out-of-town family, friends and visitors, would help.
“I think it’s wise,” Arndorfer said.
An email sent to Brookstone Lodge & Suites wasn’t returned before publication.
In other local development news, Arndorfer informed the City Council that there was “a snag in the financing” for the city’s $1.3 million infrastructure improvement project, including utilities, prompted by a multi-million dollar utility company, which is remaining confidential at this time, that expressed interest in building a facility on northwest side of Britt.
He said in recent years, the company has centrally assessed its properties which has meant its tax dollars go to the state instead of the county and are dispersed across the company’s entire service area.
Arndorfer said he and Sawyer are working with Speer Financial to determine its options.
“We obviously still want to make this happen,” he said. “It’s just a lot more difficult to figure out how to fund it, so stay tuned on funding for this project because we’ll have to discuss it.”
The company’s facility would employ 70 people.
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