The building of hotels in Minot has been so extensive over the last several months that the a total of new rooms available, or about to become available, changes almost daily. Minot's hotel growth is nothing short of astonishing, and not just for North Dakota.
"I can tell you everybody we talk to in the CVB world, the hotel developers and long-term planners, are just speechless. They are not seeing this anywhere else in the country. This is so rare. Nothing is growing as rapidly as this," said Wendy Howe, Minot Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
Rising out of farm fields, vacant lots or acreage that previously contained a few buildings whose identity and purpose is already forgotten, particularly on Minot's southern edge, is a new "hotel row." In a remarkable fury of construction, new hotels containing hundreds of rooms have sprung up in what is considered "overnight" in construction terms.
Kim Fundingsland/MDN • Under construction on 37th Avenue Southwest is the Microtel, one of the newest additions to the booming hotel business on Minot’s south side.
Kim Fundingsland/MDN • The LaQuinta Inn and Suites recently opened for business on 16th Street Southwest in Minot. In the background is Baymont Hotel and Suites which is due to open in September.
Kim Fundingsland/MDN • Rising in the extreme northwest corner of Minot, along the west bypass, is North Hill Suites. When finished, it will be a 130 room complex on newly created Landmark Circle.
The first of the hotels built along 37th Avenue, the increasingly important traffic artery immediately north of Walmart, was the Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites. Until recently it sat virtually alone in the area. No more. Not even close.
To the east is the Staybridge Suites, a 102-room hotel that recently opened its doors to the public. Immediately west of Holiday Inn Express is a Micro-Tel under construction with 88 more rooms. The business neighbor immediately northwest of Holiday Inn Express is My Place. It has 64 rooms and is so new that landscaping is still under way. To the north is Astoria Hotel and Suites, a 102-room facility nearing completion.
Other hotels along 37th Avenue are the 136-room Souris Valley Suites and the 80-room Candlewood Suites. A few blocks further west, on the west side of busy 16th Street Southwest, are two more new hotels the recently opened 91-room LaQuinta and the still under construction Baymont Hotel and Suites. A September opening is anticipated for Baymont's 75 rooms.
Minot's newest hotels
Staybridge Suites - 102 rooms
My Place - 64 rooms
Holiday Inn Express - 66 rooms
Country Inn & Suites - 68 rooms
Souris Valley Suites - 136 rooms
Candlewood Suites - 80 rooms
LaQuinta - 91 rooms
Hampton Inn & Suites - 86 rooms
Hotels under construction
Microtel - 88 rooms
Baymont Hotel & Suites - 75 rooms
Astoria Hotel & Suites - 102 rooms
Noble Inn - 66 rooms
North Hill Suites - 130 rooms
Econolodge - 60 rooms
Magic City Inn - 87 rooms
Comfort Suites - 88 rooms
Howe's position means she is expected to know how many hotel rooms are available in the city. Recently that number has been changing almost as fast as she can enter the prospective numbers in a calculator.
"What we've got now, and some have opened since I last added them up, it looks like we should be just over 2,300 rooms," said Howe. "Those are open and operational. Under construction and scheduled to open in the next six weeks is another 475 rooms."
As recently as four years ago Minot's total number of hotel rooms was less than 1,600. It is now expected to surpass 3,000. The amount of new hotels and rooms is staggering for such a short period of time.
Almost lost in the sawdust is the fact that new hotel business is not limited to Minot's south side, long the direction of growth for the city. On North Broadway the newly opened Hampton Inn and Suites has added another 86 rooms to Minot's inventory. The Econolodge is nearing completion further north on Broadway and the massive 130-room North Hill Suites is advancing rapidly. The North Hill Suites is located on Landmark Circle, a new northwest city street adjacent to the west bypass. The Noble Inn is nearing completion in the area of Kroll's Diner and still another, the Magic City Inn, is under construction in the same area.
The need for more hotel rooms in Minot was initially spurred by Bakken oil field activity. Oil workers needed places to stay. New building projects focused on constructing suites designed to make temporary living more comfortable than a standard hotel room. The flood of 2011 displaced several thousand people, many who needed rooms for at least a brief period until they could begin to get back on their feet at home or move elsewhere.
With that emergency housing need nearly satisfied the demand for rooms continues without any apparent let-up in sight. Finding a place to stay in a Minot hotel is still not easy. The city's hotel occupancy rate has been a very high 88 percent.
"Other cities don't want to hear about that," said Howe. "But it is a good challenge to have."
Although a number of new hotels are expected to open their doors yet this year, at least four more hotels are known to be in the planning or permitting stage and could begin construction at any time. Groundbreaking for the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, located on the west side of 16th Street Southwest at 31st Avenue, is scheduled for August 23rd. It will contain 360 multi-family residential units and 125,000 square feet of retail space. Such spectacular growth seemed impossible prior to the dramatic growth of the Bakken.
"Some are afraid that too many hotels will put us in a competitive market. It's a lot of rooms. How do we keep those rooms full five or 10 years from now?" asked Howe. "We'll need more sports facilities and meeting space to grow these."