The owner of the new Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Mountain Iron announced plans Wednesday to build an adjoining 10,000-square-foot conference and event center — adding about another $1 million of investment to what was already a $9 million project.
The developer, Home on the Range LLC, had planned to include the conference center as part of the hotel’s initial construction, but the project was scaled back, due to the recession.
“We’ve been able to learn more amount the market since opening the hotel. And we’ve determined that not only is there a need for a facility like this but it’s an immediate need,” said Scott Uttley, president of Pineview Hotel Management LLC, which runs the hotel, which opened this past June.
“We believe this center will help the hotel and bring more people into the area,” he said.
Plans also call for the new facility to include a prep kitchen and small pub. Uttley said work could begin on installing footings for the center yet this year, if weather permits. He aims to see the center completed by late summer or early fall of next year year.
Rockie Kavajecz, project manager for Island Investment Inc., the lead investor in the project, said his group owns 47 acres of land at the hotel site and hopes to attract other businesses, including restaurants and retailers to the area. Island Investment is based in Superior.
“I think the conference and event center will be a catalyst for additional growth in the area,” Uttley said, noting that the project will be built entirely with private funds.
Iron Range Resources earlier approved an investment of about $700,000 to install infrastructure that could support future development in the area surrounding the hotel.
Kavajecz and his family own five other hotels, including three Country Inn & Suites hotels in Eau Claire, Menominee and at Spirit Mountain; plus the Hotel Chequamegon and Super 8, both in Ashland. Island Investment also has a stake in the Canal Park Lodge in Duluth.