The Columbia Falls City Council approved the construction of a new hotel and convention center along U.S. Highway 2.
The three-story hotel would be located along Second Avenue West just south of the highway and will include 64 rooms, but could later be expanded to 82 rooms. The 25,000-square-foot facility would also include a 3,000-square-foot convention center.
Developer Mick Ruis is spearheading the project.
If everything goes according to plan, construction could begin this winter and the hotel could open sometime next summer, according to Anna Louise Stene, executive director of the Columbia Falls Chamber of Commerce. She said the hotel and convention center would be a welcome addition to the community. Currently, many tourists looking to stay in the area have to find hotels in Whitefish or Kalispell.
“It’s really exciting that we’re adding beds,” she said. “We have so many visitors that pass through Columbia Falls and now we’ll be able to provide them more places to stay.”
The development would also require a parking lot for at least 126 vehicles, which would be built on the east side of the hotel.
Stene said the hotel’s location would benefit Columbia Falls’ downtown area and attract more people to Nucleus Avenue. She said Columbia Falls is an ideal location for a hotel and convention center.
“One advantage Columbia Falls has is its proximity to Glacier National Park but it’s also easy to get to Whitefish, Bigfork and Kalispell,” Stene said. “We’re really centrally located.”
But some residents who live near the site of the new hotel have expressed concerns. In an email to the city council, one resident wrote that a hotel would bring additional traffic to the area and increase noise.