Bringing the under-construction La Quinta Hotel development to Lakewood seems to have sparked even more interest from other hoteliers.
Best Western Pepper Inn has purchased 5 acres across the freeway from La Quinta for $6.50 per square foot and now that redevelopment has a strong hold on Lakewood, similar interstate frontage properties are selling for $18 to $25 per square foot.
Another hotel, although the name has not been released, will be built a few blocks south of the La Quinta in Ponders.
The interest in hotels may be related to the 1,500-seat student center under construction at Clover Park Technical College. Joe Hannan, Lakewood economic development administrator, said the city is contributing $2 million to that project, in hopes of stimulating tourism in the community and increasing the need for hotels.
Tony Robinson, vice president of operations and facilities for the college, said the center would be available for conference, seminars and other large events. The space isn’t meant to compete with large spaces like the Greater Tacoma Trade and Convention Center, but to fill a void in the region.
For a smaller group, the largest space will seat 250 people, Robinson said. The student center will be able to serve small groups of 500 people or larger groups from the surrounding community, if necessary.
“This will ultimately drive business into Lakewood,” he said. “This will fill the middle market & both in price and size & where nobody is really being served.” This article was originally published in the Jan. 8, 2007 issue of The Business Examiner.