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Uptown Hotel Discussion

Posted: October 15th, 2012, 9:35 am
by twincitizen
Does Uptown need a hotel? Could it support one? Why or why not? Where should it go?

The Arby's site is often mentioned (on here, not publicly) as the perfect spot for a hotel. I could definitely get on board with that. It's far enough away from both the Greenway and single-fam homes that arguments about height and shadows would have less credibility.

Mozaic II is also a contender to have a hotel component, especially considering the nearby parking, height, and amenities avaiable.

The third hat I'll throw into this ring is the empty lot to the east of Calhoun Beach Club. The site can certainly support the height, and lake views would be a plus. The lack of walkable destinations would be a definite drawback though. A combination hotel/luxury condo development maybe?

Discuss.

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 15th, 2012, 9:48 am
by MNdible
The lots north of the Calhoun Square ramp might also be good candidates.

I'd say "no" to the Calhoun Beach Club site. Too far from the hustle and bustle.

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 15th, 2012, 11:32 am
by John
I think Uptown is entering an era when building a hotel in the neighborhood will be more plausible. My vote for a new hotel in Uptown is on the triangular Arby's site. Also like MNdible's suggestion of the lot north of of Calhoun Square parking ramp.
The location of the lot east of Calhoun Beach Club is great for the amenity of being on the lake, but I agree it would be too far from the restaurants/nightlife/shopping of Uptown.

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 15th, 2012, 1:04 pm
by Nathan
I think it could definitely afford a couple of cool smaller boutique hotels... any buildings worthy of conversion?

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 15th, 2012, 1:58 pm
by gahwi003
As a devils advocate, Ill throw out some negative thoughts.

I dont think Uptown could support a hotel of significant size for the reasons following: Uptown is not a national, state, or metro destination. At best, it is a destination for people in Minneapolis, and those in the surrounding inner-ring suburbs. Uptown is primarily an entertainment, dining, and shopping center for locals. Sure it offers a unique environment, but why wouldn't visitors lodge near MOA, or in downtown. Both are exponentially better options.

The fundamental question: Would anyone realistically want to come spend their extra income here, when there are better alternatives?

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 15th, 2012, 2:29 pm
by MNdible
We're not talking about a 500 room hotel here -- we're looking at a 100 room hotel operating in an area with very little competition. It's obviously not competing with the 494 strip or MOA hotels -- it would be catering to a different clientele.

It's probably somewhat in competition with some of the boutique hotels downtown.

Who would stay at an Uptown hotel? Likely someone who's somewhat familiar with Minneapolis, perhaps the family or friend of somebody who has an apartment in Uptown without a guest room. I'm assuming that what ends up here would be in the vein of an Ace Hotel, so it's probably smaller rooms, less frills, at a cheaper price point.

Uptown is a great point of departure for exploring the city, especially if you're the sort of young, urban-savvy traveler who's willing to use NiceRide or the bus system.

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 15th, 2012, 2:42 pm
by Nathan
gahwi003 wrote:Sure it offers a unique environment, but why wouldn't visitors lodge near MOA, or in downtown. Both are exponentially better options.

The fundamental question: Would anyone realistically want to come spend their extra income here, when there are better alternatives?
Because there are a lot of people who live in this area, and when we have visitors it is very inconvenient that they have to stay more than a mile or two away. It's not always about the attractions (shopping, lakes, greenway) it's about where people live too.

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 15th, 2012, 2:51 pm
by John
Good points. And Uptown is growing rapidly in population. About a 100 room hotel sounds right. It should be moderately priced yet convey an image of being hip and slightly funky. Would do well with younger people and savvy travelers/tourists on a budget.

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 15th, 2012, 2:52 pm
by twincitizen
I agree that Uptown is a more local destination rather than statewide, but its catchment area certainly extends beyond the first-ring suburbs, as gahwi suggests. Uptown's profile is on the rise... just look at the massive influx of retail and entertainment over the past 2 years alone. The office market is just beginning to develop. I could see a smaller hotel find success with frequent visitors to the city who are looking for something different than downtown craziness. For example, I live in Uptown. When I travel to other cities, especially larger ones like Chicago that I've been to repeatedly, I'd like to stay somewhere other than tourist-trap downtown and it sure as heck won't be in the burbs where I'd need to rent a car. I'd like to stay in a similar hip/hipster-friendly neighborhood that would have shops, dining, and entertainment that I'd be interested in.

To be devil's-devil's advocate, I will also point out that there are hotels in Brooklyn Center, Oakdale, and every other crummy suburb ringing the 694/494 belt that aren't necessarily near the airport or large employment centers. Woodbury has several large hotels and they aren't near anything at all. Woodbury totally lacks the professional/tech employment base that the boomburbs like Eden Prairie or Maple Grove having going for them.

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 15th, 2012, 3:09 pm
by Nathan
John wrote:Good points. And Uptown is growing rapidly in population. About a 100 room hotel sounds right. It should be moderately priced yet convey an image of being hip and slightly funky. Would do well with younger people and savvy travelers/tourists on a budget.
An aloft by W could be really awesome just north of the Calhoun Square parking ramp!Their styling and brand would fit right in.

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 15th, 2012, 4:16 pm
by gahwi003
MNdible wrote:We're not talking about a 500 room hotel here -- we're looking at a 100 room hotel operating in an area with very little competition.

Who would stay at an Uptown hotel? Likely someone who's somewhat familiar with Minneapolis, perhaps the family or friend of somebody who has an apartment in Uptown without a guest room. I'm assuming that what ends up here would be in the vein of an Ace Hotel, so it's probably smaller rooms, less frills, at a cheaper price point.
Thanks for the clarification MNdible. I was imagining a 300+ room hotel complex marketed to the tourist demographic or occasional overnighter. That said, a smaller scale hotel (which doesnt TOWER over its neighbors) would perhaps be successful.

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 15th, 2012, 5:37 pm
by John
An aloft by W could be really awesome just north of the Calhoun Square parking ramp!Their styling and brand would fit right in.[/quote]
An excellent suggestion. That is the perfect location for an Aloft hotel in Uptown, and it would fill in that stupid vacant lot. Hey , you need to call the owners of Calhoun Square to tell them about your idea. :) They've been sitting on their asses too long with that property!

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 15th, 2012, 5:42 pm
by John
fotoapparatic wrote:An aloft by W could be really awesome just north of the Calhoun Square parking ramp!Their styling and brand would fit right in.
An excellent suggestion! Aloft would be perfectly situated in that location, and it would get rid of the stupid vacant lot. Hey, you should contact the owners of Calhoun Square with your good idea. They have been sitting on there asses with that property for way too long!

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 16th, 2012, 2:29 pm
by Didier
I think a properly scaled boutique hotel would be a great addition to Uptown, and I think it's needed for Uptown to take the next step as an area, but I generally have the same skepticism as gahwi003.

The big question is who would stay here? I can see a hotel being filled up for the special events that take place in the area, like when the Nature Valley Grand Prix stops in Uptown. I can see some people deciding to stay there for a staycation type thing. But I wonder if there's enough business travel in the area to fill it up during the week? I don't know of any business traveler who would stay in Uptown and bus/rental car commute to another part of the city. And as it stands, is there really that much in Uptown to justify a staycation? All of the big theaters and concert venues are downtown, for example.

That all said, of all places St. Louis has two hotels that I think would be good examples for Uptown.

Earlier this summer, I went to an event at St. Louis University and stayed at this 49-room boutique hotel called Hotel Ignacio. It was built into an old building and had unique, interesting rooms. I could see this in the middle of Uptown fitting perfectly.

The other is called Moonrise Hotel, and it's a new building that is right in the heart of their Delmar Loop, which is basically the St. Louis equivalent of Uptown. To be sure, this benefits by being affiliated with what is their equivalent of First Avenue. But it's about as similar an area as I can think to Uptown, and it seems to do OK.

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 16th, 2012, 4:32 pm
by John
The St Louis hotels you give as examples would be wonderful additions to Uptown. I think the key for a hotel to be successful in Uptown would be its price point. It would have to be significantly less expensive (as a competitive advantage) to the boutique and higher-end hotels downtown. And it would still have to offer something unique with a hip, urban appeal.

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 16th, 2012, 4:41 pm
by Nathan
What about a hostel? I know that there aren't that many travelers out there, but I know there are A LOT of couch surfers in uptown, so there is a market for a younger market cheap place to stay, there could be a hostel and a boutique hotel which could be priced however, people around the lakes and new fancy apartments buildings have plenty of rich friends I'm sure ;)

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 16th, 2012, 5:28 pm
by MSPtoMKE
Well, what is the demographic that stays at the Sheraton Midtown? If anything, I would say that hotel is eating into the demand for a hotel in Uptown.

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 16th, 2012, 6:43 pm
by John
MSPtoMKE wrote:Well, what is the demographic that stays at the Sheraton Midtown? If anything, I would say that hotel is eating into the demand for a hotel in Uptown.
The Sheraton Midtown is primarily used for family members of patients at Abbott Northwestern Hospital or people connected to Allina on business or attending a conference there. Uptown would be too far for them.

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 16th, 2012, 6:45 pm
by John
fotoapparatic wrote:What about a hostel? I know that there aren't that many travelers out there, but I know there are A LOT of couch surfers in uptown, so there is a market for a younger market cheap place to stay, there could be a hostel and a boutique hotel which could be priced however, people around the lakes and new fancy apartments buildings have plenty of rich friends I'm sure ;)
Those young people moving into those expensive apartments may have to start charging their couch surfer friends to pay their rent on time! ;)

Re: Uptown hotel discussion

Posted: October 17th, 2012, 1:57 pm
by John
This rendering for a boutique hotel in downtown LA would be a great design prototype for a smaller Uptown hotel:
Image