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Categorized | News

A Hotel in Cedar Springs?

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By Tom Noreen

About 25 interested community and City Council members attended the informational meeting on the feasibility study to bring an AmericInn to Cedar Springs. Invitations to the meeting had been sent via email and were published in the Cedar Springs Post. The key question on everyone’s mind was how to fund a proposed $7,500 feasibility study requested by the chain.

AmericInn representative, Michelle Vander Vegte, addressed this concern first. She said, “All hotels require a feasibly study to check the financial viability of the proposal and also how many units would the area support.” These studies range in complexity from ten pages to one hundred depending on the size of the community, competition, economic condition of the area, and a number of other factors. She brought examples of both for people to look at. However, she said because of the lack of competition in the immediate area, AmericInn would accept the ten page study. A study on this scale would only cost about $1,500. Mayor pro tem Pam Connelly noted that this was significantly less than the $10,000 briefed earlier in the year.

AmericInn is based in Chanhassen, Minnesota and is the largest midscale hotel brand in the upper Midwest with over 225 locations in 24 states. There are 13 in Michigan, the closest being Greenville. They rank #2 in guest satisfaction with a 92 percent rating based on a JD Power study.

The AmericInn Generation 4 hotels now being built offer lower per-key costs to build and greater operational efficiency to run. They have redesigned lobbies, larger and redesigned rooms, meeting rooms, and pools. Pools and meeting rooms have been relocated to the basement thus improving energy efficiency. Pools would also be available for senior aerobics during the week, paid passes to local residents, and events.

Michelle said, “Our hotels are turn-key projects. We do the development, construction and management.” In return, the investors are required to put 30 percent equity upfront and sign a 20-year contract with the brand. The goal is to get a return on your initial investment in either cash or K1 depreciation within five years.

The company prides itself on its staff with the average experience of a manager being 12-15 years. She said, “It’s not a revolving door. We take care of our people. It’s like a family.”

When asked if the Greenville AmericInn would be competition, Vander Vegte said that it only services a 10-mile radius. She also said that it was doing well.

Leisure activities form the majority of AmericInn business, focusing on travel, weddings, funerals, and reunions. Yet, rooms could be priced to meet the demand for construction crews and other longer stay clients.

Most people thought it was a good idea and were excited about the possibilities. The Cedar Springs City Council must now decide whether or not to fund the feasibility study.

Anyone interested in investing can contact Duane McIntyre at duanemcintyre@gmail.com, Dave Ringler at rings@csbrew.com, or Michelle Vander Vegte at 952-294-5229.

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