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More room at the inn

A four-story, 84-room La Quinta Inn will be built adjacent to Interstate 5 in Phoenix, just north of the La-Z-Boy Furniture Gallery on Grove Road as part of development on 6.2 acres.

Design review for the lodging already had been approved by the city of Phoenix. Clearwater Property Group owns the 1.5-acre site that will house the hotel. An adjacent property will house a restaurant, and a third parcel also will be developed.

“We’d love to break ground in the winter of 2019 and open within 12 months,” said Brent Bianchina, president of Clearwater. He anticipates an opening in spring 2020. The Lake Oswego corporation will hire a hotel management company to run the operation.

Development of the area was envisioned when I-5 Exit 24 and surrounding roads were rebuilt earlier in the decade by the city and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

“It will help bring Phoenix a number of benefits,” said Phoenix Planning Director Evan MacKenzie. “The hotel itself will hopefully bring some people into downtown Phoenix.”

The firm is presently preparing construction plans for the hotel and getting ready to apply to the city for building permits, said Bianchina.

The hotel will be one of La Quinta’s new Del Sol-style accommodations. The style is designed to blend light and shadows, to lower operating expenses and to incorporate features for digitally savvy customers. At least 20 percent of the lodging will be suites. There will be an indoor pool, conference and meeting facilities and a fitness center.

The type of restaurant for the second site, which will be south of the hotel on Grove Road, is under consideration, Bianchina said. He said he’d like to see a locally oriented establishment, perhaps a tap house or bistro, rather than a chain restaurant.

“It’s got so much exposure. I want to be really selective with that. I want to connect with the locals on that,” said Bianchina. He noted the presence of nearby U.S. Cellular Community Park, medical facilities in southeast Medford and other elements that will generate traffic.

Like with the restaurant, the corporation is still researching use of the third parcel. It might accommodate an indoor sports complex, another hotel, medical buildings or retail uses, said Bianchina.

“We hope for a decision in three to six months. We want to do it all at once if we could,” said Bianchina.

An application is under review by the city to create three tax lots on the 6.2-acre site that now has two lots. Clearwater purchased the hotel land from Medford Acres LLC, which had owned it since 2011.

The parcels are in the city’s urban renewal district. They sit immediately south of more than 400 acres off North Phoenix Road designated for future development in the Regional Problem Solving initiative. Before development could take place, it would first need to be brought into the city’s urban growth boundary, then annexed into city limits.

In another interchange-related development, a parcel that was bisected by the new extension of North Phoenix Road was repartitioned to create three separate lots earlier this year. Two parcels lie east of North Phoenix Road, and the third is to the west adjacent to Home Depot.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

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