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City will review plan for new hotel on Miller Hill

Another new hotel could be coming to the Miller Hill corridor soon.

On Tuesday, the Duluth Planning Commission will consider the proposed construction of a four-story, 91-room Hampton Inn & Suites behind the Texas Roadhouse restaurant off Mall Drive.

The area around Miller Hill Mall and Duluth International Airport has become a bit of a hotbed for hotel development in recent months.

An $8 million, 96-room La Quinta Inn & Suites Hotel is now being built at 1805 Maple Grove Road.

Meanwhile, another hotel development is being considered in nearby Hermantown on the site of the former Cinema 8, on the south side of Miller Trunk Highway just west of Haines Road.

There, the Lion Hotel Group has been mulling plans for a 75- to 80-room Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites.

The Koehler Organization already owns and operates a Residence Inn by Marriott at 517 W. Central Entrance. The proposed Hampton Inn would become the second hotel the company operates within Duluth’s primary commercial retail corridor.

Other hotels already doing business in the area include a Days Inn, a Fairfield Inn, a Country Inn & Suites and an Econo Lodge.

Aberdeen, S.D.-based TKO owns and operates 33 hotels in 14 states.

“We really like Duluth. It’s a great town with a lot of things going for it,” said John Koehler, the project’s lead developer.

He predicts the proposed new hotel will be well located to capitalize on opportunities in the local market.

“We will definitely be well positioned to accommodate corporate travelers using the airport, but we also expect there will be a strong leisure component to our business, including shoppers coming to the area from throughout the region as well as Canada.”

The availability of land also may help explain why much of Duluth’s recent hotel development has occurred near Miller Hill Mall and the airport. Koehler noted that there aren’t many suitable sites for additional hotels in Canal Park.

If the Hampton Inn & Suites project is approved, as recommended by Jenn Reed Moses, a city planner, Koehler said construction could begin yet this fall, or early next year. He said it probably will take 10-12 months to build out the hotel.

The site is already properly zoned to support the project.

The maximum height of the structure is 45 feet.

Plans for storm water management and lighting will still need to be reviewed and approved by the city before the project can proceed.