EXCELSIOR, Minn. - A $12 million proposed hotel passed its first step when it went before the Excelsior City Council Monday night.
The plan, which still has a few hurdles to go, would place a hotel where there is now an empty lot on the lakefront.
"It's a good thing for the businesses. It's a good thing for the customers. It's a good thing for Excelsior," says Loran Lessard, owner of Licks Unlimited.
The 58-room hotel would sit just across the street from Lessard's Ice Cream Shop. He thinks it would boost his business and so does the Excelsior Chamber of Commerce.
"It gives something that this area doesn't have right now. The closest hotel is a mile to two miles away and they're kind of value oriented.
This will be a smaller boutique hotel and give people an alternative," says Scott Zerby with the Chamber.
The project has actually been in the works for years, but has been met with zoning and other issues.
It finally passed through the planning commission in a conceptual stage, with the next stop being the city council.
The council's decision on Monday night gives the green light for the project to move to the general planning phase. There will still need to be several more meetings, public hearings and approvals before the project was a done deal.
Developer Charlie James, who has owned the property for the last 36 years, says the hotel is a necessity. The lake had many hotels on its shores over its rich history and now there are none.
"We're trying to build the Excelsior Hotel, not the Trump Hotel, not the Charlie James Hotel," he explained to the council.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)