EVERETT — Glistening water, passing ships and inquisitive seals could delight visitors willing to pay at least $150 for an overnight stay.
Hotel Indigo will offer 142 rooms at the city’s waterfront by summer or fall 2019. A celebration of Everett’s next large lodging is planned at 10 a.m. Thursday. The building is a central part of the Port of Everett’s redevelopment, Waterfront Place, that features parks, housing, restaurants, docks and more.
The hotel is a few months behind the initial schedule because of permit delays, construction contracts and weather, Columbia Hospitality Executive Vice President Yogi Hutsen said. Once completed, waterfront hotel rooms in Everett and Snohomish County will more than double.
Columbia Hospitality operates 10 hotels in Washington, including the Salish Lodge & Spa at Snoqualmie Falls. The Seattle-based company has five properties scheduled to open in the coming year or so, including Hotel Indigo and Home2 Suites by Hilton in Marysville. Hutsen said operating in Everett was a prudent move.
“Everett’s rich history, stunning setting, and thriving community make it the perfect location for a Hotel Indigo flag, which prides itself on embracing the character and history of the communities that they operate in,” he said.
The company and port agreed in 2018 to a lease that will pay the Port of Everett $15,000 a month for up to 80 years. The lease will be reviewed every 10 years for market value and inflation adjustments.
“It’s pretty exciting to see private dollars invested in the waterfront,” said Port of Everett acting CEO and Executive Director Lisa Lefeber.
The hotel’s lease for 2.5 acres is a major part of the port district’s multimillion-dollar waterfront makeover. The redevelopment’s first phase is called the Fisherman’s Harbor District. Apartments, hotels, restaurants and shops are envisioned at the 12-acre piece of the total 65 acres in the port district’s central waterfront area once occupied by boating and maritime industries.
Previously, only two waterfront hotels operated in all of Snohomish County. The Silver Cloud Inn in Mukilteo and Inn at Port Gardner, not far from the Hotel Indigo location in Everett, offer a total of 103 rooms.
Staying at the new hotel — with 119 water-view rooms — is expected to cost between $150 and $190 nightly. It also is planned to have a restaurant, lounge, indoor swimming pool, fitness facility, two outdoor areas for weddings and other events, conference spaces, and banquet and meeting rooms.
“Hotel Indigo will welcome guests from all over, with the majority of guests traveling from the Pacific Northwest region for leisure, business travel and meetings and events,” said Hutsen.
He cited Boeing, Providence Health, Zodiac, Washington State University and Paine Field as reasons the hotel expects to see steady occupancy.
Much of the 130 miles of marine waterfront property in Snohomish County is already developed. In a 2006 inventory of Snohomish County’s marine shoreline land uses, 78 percent were single-family homes and duplexes. Commercial, industrial, recreational and other uses, such as lodging, made up less than 2 percent of shoreline land uses.
Decades-old planning and development decisions blocked similar hotel enterprises from taking root along the county’s extensive waterfront, said Terri Strandberg, a long-range principal planner with Snohomish County.
The land itself made building along the shore difficult, too. Much of the area has steep, unstable slopes, borders a railway or is on the Tulalip Reservation, Strandberg said.
Such a large tract in Everett was an attractive commodity.
“How often can you build on waterfronts? How often can you build in beautiful locations?” said Anthony Anton, president and CEO of Washington Hospitality Association, a hotel and lodging industry group. “I think we forget how good we have it, between the access to the water and the access to adventure.”
Hotel Indigo will be unique because of its waterfront location. But it’s hardly alone as a new lodging option in Snohomish County.
Two hotels have opened in recent years in north Everett alone. There are six other hotels in Snohomish County on the way between now and 2019: Hotel Indigo, Hilton Garden Inn in Lynnwood, and four in Marysville and Tulalip. Hotels opening in 2018 across the county are expected to add more than 1,000 rooms.
All of the projected new waterfront rooms are welcome news to the folks responsible for pitching the county as a place to visit and stay the night.
“We’re very excited about the addition of the Hotel Indigo and the greater restoration projects taking place at the Port of Everett’s Fisherman’s Harbor District in the coming years,” said Angie Riley, marketing and communications manager with the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau.
Added capacity seems to be needed. By December 2018, the year-end occupancy rate or average number of rooms booked was 71.4 percent in Island, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties, according to the Washington Hospitality Association, which compiled the figures from Smith Travel Research. That was an increase of 3.6 percent from 2016.
The location has been abuzz with activity recently. Everett’s new pedestrian access over the rail lines and West Marine View Drive from 16th Street and Grand Avenue is under construction.
An open house for the redevelopment is planned later Thursday, from 5 to 7 p.m. Another update is a three-year lease for 4,800 square feet by Washington State University.
The university’s School of Food Science Center for Advanced Food Technology moved into the office and classroom space at Marina Village near Anthony’s Homeport this week.