Construction on a 100-room, four-story hotel adjacent to Glacier Park International Airport is underway, and developers hope to complete the project by June of 2018.
The hotel, located at 4150 U.S. Highway 2 just south of the airport, is being developed by Kalispell’s Greg Bain & Company. Bain will also be a part owner in the property along with partner, Matt Brister.
The Country Inns and Suites is being built to capture a look of “rustic elegance,” Bain said, using both local labor and materials.
“We wanted to build something more lodge-style and more in tune with what people travel to Montana looking for,” he said. “We were finding resistance from a lot of the hotel chains in changing their prototype — Country Inn and Suites allowed us flexibility.”
Currently, the hotel is in the framing phase and a crew of between 18 and 20 is working to put up walls throughout the hotel’s main floor. Bain hopes to have the building enclosed by the end of October or early November. From there, crews will work through the winter to complete the interior.
In addition to guest rooms, a pool and fitness facility, the 62,000-square-foot hotel will also feature a conference room large enough to seat 80 people, which will be available for rent to the public.
Bain expects the hotel to employ 15 people year-round and upward of 20 during peak times.
Bain was inspired to develop the Evergreen location after he and his wife were flying home from Philadelphia, where they also have an interest in an airport hotel. Bain thought it was odd that Glacier Park International didn’t have a hotel nearby and happened to see a sign on his drive home advertising the available site. The rest, he said, was history.
The airport has seen continued growth for the past five years. In 2016, the airport saw a record-breaking 492,522 passengers come through its doors — up almost 5 percent from the previous year.
“The flights are definitely going to be a big boost for us and a reason to be here,” Bain said, “but I believe that highway out there with all the traffic to and from the park, and to and from the rest of the valley is also a big draw.”
The airport is also on board with the venture.
“They’re happy to see what we’re doing here because of the synergy it’s created between all of us. It makes it more convenient for their customers to have the ability to stay here in the winter months particularly,” Bain said.
Airport director Rob Ratkowski said the hotel will give early-morning and late-night travelers a place to rest up before catching their flights or driving home.
“If you’re leaving on an early flight, this will give people the opportunity to come up the night before and cut that hour drive time off the front end of their day,” Ratknowski said. “I’m sure a lot of flight crews will use it, too.”
The 9-acre parcel the hotel sits on also includes space for a 7,000-square-foot restaurant and 3,500-square-foot convenience store. Bain said he hopes to develop both locations, but is still on the lookout for interested parties.
“I was born less than 5 miles from here over in Evergreen,” Bain said. “I feel privileged to be able to build something here that will be a feature and an enjoyable place.”
Reporter Mackenzie Reiss may be reached at 758-4433 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.