The building boom that's seen three new hotels open this month in downtown Minneapolis carried over to the suburbs last week with the opening of the Westin Edina Galleria.
The 225-room hotel is part of a $100 million condominium and hotel high-rise connected to the Galleria shopping mall. The 18-story tower has 11 floors of condos atop the hotel.
The amenities on the ground floor include a pool, fitness center and a McCormick & Schmick's restaurant.
Patrick Clemons, director of sales and marketing, said he expects business travelers to account for about 75 percent of the hotel's weekday business.
Six of the guest rooms are suites with nightly rates from $1,000 to $1,400, he said. The base rate for the rest of the rooms is about $199.
The hotel wasn't part of the official pool set aside for the upcoming Republican National Convention but is fully booked anyway, Clemons said.
The Kansas delegation is taking nearly all the rooms, with the rest reserved by dignitaries and some entertainers who'll be performing at convention-related events, he said.
The hotel also has about $1 million of special events booked, including weddings planned for 2009, Clemons said. The hotel has 9,100 square feet of flexible event space, including a ballroom for as many as 350 people.
The building is connected to the shopping center by a tunnel on the lower level. Clemons said the hotel plans to work with retailers in the mall on weekend packages to generate business from leisure travelers.
Condo residents are expected to begin moving in during October. So far, 52 of the 82 units priced at $400,000 to more than $1.5 million have been sold. Warren Beck, the Galleria's owner and the developer of the project, said the buyers are a mix of empty-nesters, young professionals and people who will use the condos as second homes.
The tower is one of only a few high-rises in Edina and was allowed to proceed after the City Council voted to permit buildings as tall as 18 stories in the Southdale area. The development also survived a legal challenge by Galleria tenant Barnes & Noble, which claimed in a lawsuit that the project violated its lease and would hurt its business. In 2006 Hennepin County District Judge Charles Porter rejected those claims and said the development could proceed.Infrastructure grant
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has awarded a $250,000 grant to the city of Redwood Falls to help pay for developing a business park. The grant will pay for infrastructure improvements, including water, sewerage, streets and utility extensions that are expected to be completed in mid-October.
Combined with other funding from the city, the total cost of the project will be about $738,000.
The new business park is being developed because the city's existing business park is full.
The new park, which will have six lots available for development, will be designed for light-industrial businesses.
Susan Feyder • 612-673-1723