Plans for a Holiday Inn Express in Ottawa are continuing to move forward.
On the incentive side, the project is “a go,” Wynndee Lee, the city’s director of community development, said in a recent email. In August, there will be a hearing on the community improvement district, she said.
Ottawa Planning Commission has approved the site plan, with the condition final staff and engineering details currently under review are resolved. The planning commission has also approved the preliminary plat.
“The stage is set for their dirt work to begin, provided they get a notice of intent to us indicating [Kansas Department of Health and Environment] is notified of their work related to erosion control measures,” Lee said. “The right-of-way for King Street has been granted by ABK, Inc., so we are ready on that front, once the engineering is reviewed.”
The proposed development would include 81 hotel rooms at the Holiday Inn, with paved and lighted parking, in addition to a retail or restaurant development around 2,000 to 2,500 square feet with parking spaces.
“If you’ve seen the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in recent years ... it’s an attractive building, great windows, four stories — which is good from a site planning visual,” Lee said at the city commission meeting last week.
The project, being developed by Ottawa Lodging LLC, would be located in the city’s recently created tax increment financing (TIF) district known as the NW I-35 and Princeton Redevelopment District. The district encompasses land between 23rd Street on the north, I-35 on the south, South Princeton Street on the east and the Prairie Spirit Rail Trail on the west, according to Herald archives.
In addition to the future Holiday Inn Express, the district includes several existing businesses, such as Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, H&R Block and Taylor Brothers Construction Co., according to city documents.
A TIF district allows the property taxes to stay at a current rate, an incentive for buyers and developers. Also, property taxes that are created by improvements to the area return to the TIF district to help pay for improvements such as streets, water lines, sewer lines, electric, infrastructure, according to Herald archives.
The process started back in January, relative to the redevelopment district formation itself, followed by a series of notices, including the ordinance creating the district. However, there are lots of steps for a development, and financing is just one, Lee added.
Building plans have yet to be approved, and the same goes for plans for the public infrastructure, Lee said.
“But on the whole, we are well prepared to get them going and keep them on their 10-month construction schedule for the requested opening in May  to be ready for summer travel,” Lee said. “We are excited to get this on the way.”