Minnetonka may be home to a new Hampton Inn and Suites, slated to open in summer 2013. The proposed hotel would be built on the same land where the Stuart Anderson Cattle Company restaurant once stood, just north of Interstate 394.
“It’s a great neighborhood to be in,” Tom Torgenson, the project’s developer said, referencing the site's close proximity to the corporate headquarters of large companies like General Mills and Syngenta. Torgenson estimated the project will cost in excess of $10 million and once completed, will employ 15 full-time hotel employees.
“Bottom line, it’s a benefit to the city,” Minnetonka Community Development Director Julie Wischnack said of the proposed hotel.
The land at 10600 Wayzata Boulevard has been unused since 2004, when the Stuart Anderson Cattle Company restaurant closed. In 2008, another restaurant chain, Eddie Merlot’s, showed interest in the site but ultimately decided against opening an eatery there.
“It was right at the economic downturn. Nobody was investing in restaurants at that time,” Wischnack said. The city tore down the Stuart Anderson Cattle Company restaurant building in December 2009, leaving the land vacant.
But both property and city developers expect this hotel project to reach completion. Right now Torgenson Properties is applying for three separate grants, one from Hennepin County and two from the state of Minnesota, to pay for environmental clean-up on the site before breaking ground.
Wischnack said the land on which the hotel will be built, old wetlands, require soil correction because underlying methane gas needs to be released. It's estimated that site clean up will run about $1 million and that grants would collectively cover up to 85 percent of that cost.
According to the project's architect John D. Hafner, the five-story hotel will feature an indoor pool, a small conference facility, fitness center, a large lobby with breakfast buffet area and about 100 guest rooms. Developers hope to break ground in the spring of 2012 and expect construction to take about a year.
Torgenson Properties, based in Willmar, develops, builds and manages 28 hotels and nine restaurants throughout Minnesota and Florida.