September 2013 might be remembered as the month when the Olympia-area hotel market began to heat up with new announcements, closed transactions and pitched projects, including several along Capitol Way.
The newest of these hotel announcements came Wednesday when the downtown Olympia hotel that has been known as the Phoenix Inn became a DoubleTree by Hilton, general manager Janine Condit said.
“It’s a positive change for the area,” she said.
Rooms and common spaces have been remodeled, and a new bar and restaurant have been added, Condit said. The property ownership group hasn’t changed. A trio of companies — Aimbridge Hospitality, JMI Realty and Merrill Lynch, which bought the Phoenix Inn in 2006 — still owns the hotel but decided to rebrand it to DoubleTree because Aimbridge already operates several hotels under that brand, she said.
But Olympia-area hotel announcements Wednesday didn’t end with DoubleTree.
Here’s what also happened:
• The Governor Hotel, also on Capitol Way, officially has sold for $3.4 million to Rusco USA LLC of Tacoma. Ryan Kang, the new general manager, said the hotel will undergo a modest renovation, then reopen next month. Ultimately, though, the plan is to do a full remodel and eventually operate it as a Holiday Inn, he said. The new owners, Kang said, see a lot of potential in downtown Olympia. “They are excited to be part of downtown and part of Olympia,” he said.
• Han Kim of Seattle, whose group Hotel Concepts previously brought two hotels to Lacey, has closed on its acquisition of the Capitol Plaza Hotel on Capitol Way, paying $1.7 million for the property. Kim said he is now awaiting approval from Marriott to turn it into an extended-stay brand called TownePlace Suites. Kim’s group also plans to bring a Hilton Garden Inn and a Marriott Courtyard to property they own at Henderson Boulevard and Interstate 5.
Kim also is part of an ownership group that bought the Bailey Motor Inn on Martin Way in Olympia that has since closed.
Kim said he met with city officials Wednesday to get feedback on a new plan for the property: a mixed-use development, including a two-story medical office building. He learned Wednesday, though, that the property has “lots of issues,” including nearby wetlands.
A new hotel also could be coming to one of the Port of Olympia’s East Bay parcels near State Avenue.
Seattle developer, Lorig Associates, has an option on the property, and that option has been extended through the end of the year, port senior manager of business development Mike Reid said. “A hotel is still the primary development concept,” he said.
Reid said the recent hotel news hadn’t created any sense of urgency for the development.
“My sense is the hotel activity that is occurring is the renaming and rebranding of hotels in the marketplace,” he said, adding that the port’s project, if it moves forward, is the “introduction and construction of a new facility.”
And there’s one more: City of Olympia planning permit specialist Paula Smith said a Hampton Inn & Suites is under review for a site at 4301 Martin Way E.
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