Five-story Hotel Proposed in Downtown Kalispell

Developers propose "The Charles Hotel" on city-owned property on Main Street

By Maggie Dresser
Courtesy rendering

A five-story, 86,000-square-foot boutique hotel is proposed for development on the city-owned parking lot at Third Street West and Main Street in downtown Kalispell.

City officials introduced the proposal at a July 26 council work session.

Named after Charles Conrad, The Charles Hotel, which has an estimated cost of $34 million, would have 79 units, a full-service restaurant, a rooftop bar and valet parking service. A 165-space parking garage is also proposed at the city’s Eagles lot at the southeast corner of First Street West and First Avenue West. The final component of the proposal is a “collection of support office spaces” to house hotel operations staff, likely in an existing building near the hotel site.

Compass Construction, BOND Partners and Alchemy Development have collaborated for the potential project and formed Montana Hotel Dev Partners, LLC.

The development of city parking lots follows Kalispell’s Growth Policy Plan, specifically the downtown plan aspect, and the “need to redevelop City-owned surface parking lots into more beneficial uses to eliminate blight and increase tax base.”

Currently owned by the city, the properties would transfer to private ownership, and developers are requesting the city to offset impact fees by utilizing the tax increment financing (TIF) funds for the parking garage.

According to the proposal, developers estimate the project will amount to more than $516,000 in annual tax revenue for the downtown TIF district.

Rendering courtesy of A&E Design

The City of Kalispell advertised a request for proposal (RFP) to develop the city parking lot last year and started taking proposals in December 2020 with a deadline of July 9, 2021.

The Charles Hotel was the only proposal submitted.

The proposal drew criticism from Councilor Ryan Hunter, who questioned the use of city property for the project.

“I struggle with the gifting of public land for the purchase and the request for TIF money,” Hunter said. “There needs to be significant community benefit realized for such gifts of public land and money. A parking garage does not in my mind rise to the level of community benefit.”

Hunter suggested city-owned spaces would be better utilized for affordable housing and social services offices.

“I fear that pursuing this proposal, the council prioritizes the housing of cars over the housing of people,” he added.

Several community members spoke during public comment in favor of housing development in the space, including Matt Rigg, who owns 213 and 217 Main Street and views downtown residential housing as an economic driver.

“I’d love to see this be a multi-use property,” Rigg said. “I’d much rather see it be residential, because in the long run it brings human bodies to downtown and it helps with the commercial buildings downtown.”

Tony Brockman applauded the economic benefits of the project.

“I want to stand in support of this proposal,” he said. “This proposal addresses some of the things we’ve long sought: vibrancy downtown and economic development and utilizing under-utilized areas.”

Compass Construction owner Bill Goldberg is spearheading the project. Goldberg also purchased the historic KM Building, Main Street’s Montgomery Ward building and Rockford Ranch on Three Mile Drive, and he’s been part of 16 projects combined in downtown Whitefish and Columbia Falls.

Goldberg collaborated with BOND Partners, a San Diego-based hotel development company, and Alchemy Development, which specializes in mixed-use projects.

If approved, the project will work with A&E Design, a local architecture firm, to create a design that fits within the downtown historic standards.