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Developer to study feasibility of upscale hotel

Times-Litho site could host a place to spend the night downtown


Sycan B Corp., the lone developer to respond to a Request for Qualifications regarding the old Times-Litho property in Forest Grove, is considering a hotel for the site and has asked the city to split the cost of a $10,000 feasibility study, according to Jeff King, the city’s economic development manager.

The study would consider the local lodging market and competition such as the Best Western University Inn and the Grand Lodge, both on Highway 8, as well as population growth and tourism activity in western Washington County.

King said senior management from the Grand Lodge reported renting out 1,500 more rooms in the past 12 months (including this summer) compared to the previous year.

Study consultants would also reach out to Pacific University, Viasystems, local wineries, the city’s tourism committee, the Washington County Visitors Association and other organizations that could help gauge whether the kinds of visitors coming to the area would patronize a higher-end hotel.

Hotels developed by Sycan B elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest include well known chains such as Holiday Inn, Comfort Suites and numerous Marriott sites, including SpringHill Suites near Cornelius Pass Road in Hillsboro.

Shady Almodova, the only development scout to tour the Times-Litho facility with city officials as part of a pre-submssion meeting April 2, was likewise drawn to the idea of creating an upscale hotel at the site on the northwest corner of Pacific Avenue and A Street.

Almodova, a business development coordinator for DCI Engineers, envisioned a quaint “boutique hotel” with a bed-and-breakfast feel — a style that is currently trending in cities, she said.

With nearby wineries, theaters, Pacific University and other attractions, including the coast just an hour away, Almodova thought such a hotel could draw plenty of tourists.

“And tourism brings money to your city,” she added.

Almodova said last week that she submitted her report to several local developers but none responded to the RFQ. “That’s funny,” she said after hearing of Sycan B’s interest, “because I am constantly talking to industry folks about the Times Litho site hoping that someday I will get a good bite.”

A previous $16,500 feasibility study for the site, done by Johnson Reid in June 2013, considered only housing, retail and office markets — not hotels.

King expects the new study to start in early October and finish by the end of the year.

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