June 7, 2018 –The “best bet” for a hotel in the city of Isanti is finally becoming a reality as the ground has officially been broken for the new 60-room Best Western Plus hotel, which will be located on Main Street, just west of Highway 65.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, held at the site on Tuesday, June 5, the relief of finally getting this project to become a reality was expressed by both Isanti Mayor George Wimmer and hotel owner/developer Troy Hoekstra.
“This process started, for some of us, many, many years ago,” said Wimmer. “All the different iterations and layouts of this project – it’s either a book to write about ‘How to make it as difficult as possible,’ or ‘How to overcome a lot of challenges.’”
“I came here initially in 2012 and looked at a project and kind of messed around for six months and kind of abandoned it,” said Hoekstra. “And then, one day, (my attorney) Craig (Hanson) came into my office, having attended some meetings here to get a hotel going, and I said, ‘Isanti? You’ve got to be kidding me. I have a whole file on that project. I’d love to put that in the ground if for no other reason than to make up for all the energy I put in before and nothing happened.’”
Both Wimmer and Hoekstra commented about the team effort that it took to make this hotel a reality.
“Today is the culmination of a lot of work by a lot of people,” Wimmer said. “It took a lot of private investment, city investment, school district investment, to make this happen.”
“Nobody does these things alone,” Hoekstra said. “I get credit because my company’s logo is on the sign. But if I was being honest with all of you, the people who really made this project happen, first was the mayor and (Isanti Economic Developer) Sean (Sullivan). If it wasn’t for them tapping me along for the last year-and-a-half, you wouldn’t see this here today.”
Hoekstra also pointed out the unique contribution from the Cambridge-Isanti School District in granting a tax abatement.
“It’s very unusual for me as a developer to see a combination of a school district and a city coming together to support ‘the greedy developer,’” Hoekstra said.
A unique construction process
Hoekstra went on to explain how the hotel’s construction would take place in a span of less than one year. An estimated completion time is set for February or March 2019, according to Sullivan.
“You’ll see the excavating and the foundation go in, and you’ll see the first floor get built,” Hoekstra explained. “But the second and third floors are being built modular. So, these rooms are already being constructed in a factory in Detroit Lakes. And in just a few day’s window, this thing will go from a one-story building to a three-story building. You’ll see a huge crane setting those two floors.”
The need for a hotel
Mayor Wimmer talked about why he pushed so hard to get a hotel built in Isanti.
“This area does a great job of bringing in so many people, with the BMX, the soccer complex and the ice arena,” Wimmer said. “But we could never really keep people here. Spectacular Events (now known as Spirit River Community Center), when they first started, had a hard time getting people here for those events. We had the governor’s deer hunting opener celebration out there, and they all had to run back down to the cities because there wasn’t a place to stay here.”
Wimmer stated that when he became mayor, the council indicated three items on their “wish list” for future development – a new pharmacy, a full-time doctor and a hotel.
“With Allina coming in, Coborn’s bringing in a pharmacy, and now the hotel, we have put all those pieces together, and the hotel is a huge piece,” Wimmer said. “This is going to be one of those cornerstone things that we can look back on in a few years and say that it completely changed the direction of the city in a commercial-industrial standpoint.”