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Boutique hotel plans emerge for downtown Whitefish

by HEIDI DESCH
Daily Inter Lake | June 2, 2022 12:00 AM

Another boutique hotel in downtown Whitefish is in the works.

Averill Hospitality has submitted a plan to the City of Whitefish to construct a 21-suite hotel, along with a restaurant and retail spaces, at the southwest corner of Second Street and Spokane Avenue. Called the Downtowner North, the hotel would sit to the north of the Downtowner and across the street from the Firebrand Hotel — both are also owned by Averill Hospitality.

“The goal and intent of the project is to create an attractive infill use that blends in and supports the downtown business community,” the application says.

The property, made up of three lots, currently includes a parking lot and a small office building and is adjacent to the CenturyLink building that will remain.

The city’s Architectural Review Committee will have to sign off on the design for the project, but no other approval is required as hotels in the downtown WB-3 business district are a use by right. And the hotel is below the 7,500 square feet threshold that would require a conditional use permit.

Plans for the hotel came as little surprise as representatives of the company approached Whitefish City Council in July last year asking the city to abandon the alley on the south end of the property so it could turn it into a pedestrian walkway. Council rejected the proposal, saying it needed more specifics on a plan that would see city property turned over to private ownership.

The site plan, submitted to the city, shows the alley as being designated for pedestrians.

The design for the three-story hotel calls for the first floor to be used for a restaurant and retail/services, along with a small hotel lobby. All hotel suites would be located on the second and third floors.

The basement would include storage, maintenance and staff areas along with areas for guest usage such as a fitness room, yoga and multipurpose room, and a gear and dog wash room.

A rooftop area would be open to the public and also be designated for use by the restaurant for dining and events. The hotel would be 35 feet in height with an elevator, stairs and restrooms to serve the roof deck extending to 45 feet.

THIS IS the second recent downtown hotel project brought forward by Averill Hospitality.

Last summer the company announced plans to build a 40-room boutique hotel on the corner of Central Avenue and First Street. The 38 Central Hotel is set to include a basement parking structure, first-floor dining and retail space, and a rooftop deck serving food and drinks.

Whitefish City Council in October last year approved the project.

Plans for that project also have been submitted to the city’s Architectural Review Committee, which is set to look at pre-application plans for both hotels on June 7.

The Central Avenue hotel would host hotel suites on both the second and third floors. It would be 35 feet in height with the elevator, stairs and restrooms to serve the roof deck extending higher.

The property on Central Avenue has been vacant for years, most recently serving as a city parking lot. Whitefish’s downtown master plan calls for a boutique hotel on the corner.

Averill Hospitality also owns The Lodge at Whitefish Lake and the Edgewater DoubleTree in Missoula.

Features Editor Heidi Desch may be reached at 758-4421 or hdesch@dailyinterlake.com.

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