Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Downtown hotel proposal tops Kalispell agenda

Daily Inter Lake | January 17, 2022 12:00 AM

Kalispell City Council on Tuesday will consider several agreements related to the development of a proposed downtown hotel.

The Montana Hotel Dev Partners are planning to construct a $47 million hotel at the corner of Third Street West and Main Street, which would come with a three-story, parking garage at the intersection of First Avenue and First Street West. The Charles Hotel was the only project to come forward last fall when the city sought plans in line with the downtown master plan for the existing city-owned parking lot.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. at Kalispell City Hall. The meeting is on Tuesday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

The council will consider three separate items related to the hotel project.

One agreement would transfer the city-owned land of the existing parking lot to the developer.

A separate agreement would require the developer to design, finance and build the city-owned parking structure using a public process. This requires that the parking structure include commercial space on the bottom floor and that the structure would contain about 250 parking spaces with 90 of those spaces to be leased by the developer for the hotel parking for an initial period of 50 years.

Tax increment funds from the hotel and existing TIF funds are expected to be used to reimburse the developer for the costs of the construction of the parking spaces.

A third agreement would transfer the property at Third and Main to the developer for the construction of the hotel project.

Proponents of the Charles Hotel have been enthusiastic about the potential to redevelop downtown Kalispell, adding a parking garage and increasing tax flow in the city.

Concerns have come up about the impacts of removing parking at Third and Main streets, while some have suggested residential development as the better option for the property.

Others have raised issue with the city giving the land, appraised at around $270,000, to the developer at no cost, in exchange for future taxes.

The hotel, planned to be named the Charles Hotel after Kalispell founder Charles Conrad, would encompass 86,000 square feet and 79 rooms.

The hotel also would have a restaurant, a bar and lounge, retail spaces, conference space and potentially a rooftop patio. The developers already have secured a liquor license.

The anticipated economic impact of the project is $516,000 in annual tax revenue allocations to the TIF district.

Montana Hotel Dev Partners is led by Bill Goldberg, owner of Whitefish's Compass Construction. Goldberg took ownership of the historic Kalispell Mercantile building in downtown Kalispell at the start of this year.

ALSO ON the agenda, the council is expected to consider two ordinances regarding city employees.

One would repeal the age requirements for police officers to be between ages 20 and 40 when appointed and also repeal a requirement that firefighters are 34 years old or under when appointed. The change is proposed to update city regulations with federal and state law that regard such restrictions as age discrimination.

A second ordinance would repeal an ordinance that imposes residency requirements on city employees stating that they must live in Flathead County and hiring preference be given to those residing within city limits.

Council will also consider an ordinance that would ask voters to repeal a 1981 voter ballot initiative mandating that firefighters reside within 3 air miles of the city or where they can report to the fire station within 15 minutes of a fire call.

The city says updating the residency requirements for employees and firefighters is necessary as a lack of affordable housing has become an impediment to hiring.

Features editor Heidi Desch can be reached at 758-4421 or