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Report: Hotel company no longer building in Caldwell

Map courtesy Idaho Press Tribune

Citing building costs and a lack of city incentives, a highly anticipated hotel project in downtown Caldwell is stalled, for now.

According to the Idaho Press-Tribune, at Monday's Urban Renewal Agency meeting, Keri Smith-Sigman, economic development specialist, shared an email she received from Caldwell Hospitality Group, LLC — the same group that had announced in October 2016 its intention to build a hotel downtown, to be completed by fall of this year.

According to the email sent by Devinder Singh, a member of the group, the group started the downtown hotel project "sincere" intentions.

The construction costs and current incentives did not justify the project to continue, with the given revenue projections, Singh said.

"... If the city proposes additional incentives such as no cost for the land, outside work such as sidewalks will make this project more affordable to build," the email said.

The cost of the land was $914,000, according to Eljay Waite, city treasurer.

The bids from multiple contractors came back much higher than expected, Smith-Sigman said.

Any changes to the incentives would have to go through a review process, she said, and no further discussion has happened yet.

"With this email, they are backing away from the project. It now becomes a city council driven project," she said.

The Caldwell Hospitality Group LLC owns and operates Best Western Plus Caldwell Inn and Suites located at 908 Specht Ave., Caldwell.

The planned hotel was expected to have 84 guest rooms and a wine cellar, and was anticipated to be completed by fall 2017, when it was originally announced.

Waite said the incentives in the request for proposals were not enough for the group. He did not give much details on the incentives that were provided.

"We had a site ready to build," he said.

The price was "a sizeable discount from the acquisition price," and did not include expenses relating to building demolition, according to the incentives listed in the request for proposal document put out by URA.

The urban renewal agency was also willing to "... demolish all existing structures, vacate abandoned utilities and internal rights-of-way, abate and remediate all environmental contamination and provide a shovel-ready site for construction," as part of the incentive package. Only one response to the request for proposals was received.

The property in question is owned by Urban Renewal Agency and is bordered on the northeast by Main Street and the southeast by South Seventh Avenue, a location close to Indian Creek and the Indian Creek Plaza currently under construction. It is 1.4 acres in size.

The group is exploring some other development ideas around the city, but nothing is final yet, Singh said.

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