Although it was blustery and cold on Crookston's north end Thursday afternoon, there were warm feelings all around as city leaders, and representatives of Cobblestone Hotels and Brimark Builders gathered with local investors to push ceremonial, gold-painted shovels into the ground and unofficially begin construction on Crookston's newest lodging facility.
"We're really delighted to see this thing come together," said John Seibert of Brimark Builders LLC, adding that it was kind of like returning to his alma mater, since he went to school in Crookston in the 1970s.
"On behalf of the community, I wish you nothing but the best and we know that you're going to be a great asset," Mayor Dave Genereux said.
CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth said it’s a good day for Crookston for multiple reasons.
“We could not be more pleased that Cobblestone would select Crookston as its first hotel into Minnesota. They have been aggressive all around us in Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas and we are excited to have them now call Crookston home," Hoiseth told the Times. "It has taken nearly a year of discussions and putting together all of the details for this project, but I was excited to finally see the ground breaking ceremony take place. The need for additional rooms has been great and now we will be able to compete for larger sized sporting and business events, which of course fuels even greater economic activity.”
Crookston's Cobblestone Hotel & Suites will be located on the parcel just north of the Crookston Inn & Convention Center – under new ownership – and the railroad tracks along University Avenue. As part of the project, the city will extend Sahlstrom Drive to the hotel lot and Sahlstrom will access the westbound lanes of University Ave./U.S. Highway 2. In order to finance the road project that's expected to cost more than $200,000, the city has transferred some state aid street funds from the Memorial Drive/Thorndale Ave. area.
Seibert said the goal is to be open by fall. He said the first activity people will notice next week is the property being staked. By next month construction will begin in earnest, he said.
Crookston will be home to a Cobblestone Hotel & Suites, which differs in its exterior appearance significantly from Cobblestone Inn & Suites, which features more of a brick, downtown type of rectangular structure. For comparison purposes, Cobblestone Hotel & Suites sort of resembles a Country Inn & Suites on the outside. Hoiseth said it's his understanding that the building will be situated so that the front carport faces west, with the pool and patio area being on the south side. Both Hoiseth and Seibert said the building is being constructed with the potential for an easy expansion to the east in the future.
Page 2 of 2 - Crookston's hotel will include 44 rooms that feature amenities like microwaves, refrigerators, coffee service, free high-speed Internet and flat-screen televisions. There will be a beer and wine lounge, meeting room, indoor pool, exercise equipment, guest laundry facility, an outdoor grill area, and a convenience store. There will be a complimentary hot breakfast bar and weekday newspaper for Cobblestone guests.
Cobblestone Hotels LLC, based in Neenah, Wisconsin, opened its first property in January of 2008. By the end of 2012, the company had 21 hotels nationwide, with development underway in Crookston and 34 other locations.