Aspen Hotel project still on track

Update: A Kachemak Group Real Estate representative confirmed Thursday, March 29 that the sale of the property earmarked for a new Aspen Hotel has gone through.

 

Original story: Plans for the construction of an Aspen Hotel on the Sterling Highway in Homer are advancing, and the project is slated to break ground in May.

The chain of hotels got the go ahead from the Homer Advisory Planning Commission in November 2017, when it approved a conditional use permit for the project. The company currently has hotels in Kenai, Soldotna, Anchorage, Juneau, Sitka and Haines. The proposed project for Homer is a 43,350 square foot, three-story hotel on a nearly 5-acre piece of land in Homer’s central business district next to the Alaska Islands and Oceans Visitor Center, according to the staff report in the planning commission’s meeting packet.

The project application proposes donating the land on the southern third of the parcel that is classified as tidal wetland “to the City or another entity for the purpose of extending the Islands and Ocean trail network,” according to the staff report.

Architect Rich Conneen said things are progressing and still on track for breaking ground this spring. After getting the conditional use permit, several steps still needed to be completed for the hotel to come to fruition.

The hotel needs approval from the Alaska Department of Transportation, since the driveway for the hotel will be coming off a state highway. That approval hinges on the project managers getting an easement from neighboring property.

Another step was approval needed from the Army Corps of Engineers, which has say over wetlands. There’s a strip of the hotel parcel that is classified as wetlands where Aspen does plan to build, so it needed the Corps of Engineers to approve a plan to extend a culvert downhill to divert water. That plan has been approved, Conneen said.

The actual sale of the property to Aspen is still pending, though Conneen said the sale is finishing up currently.

“When you develop, you kind of do a lot of things at the same time and it’s not linear,” he said.

Conneen said there’s been an agreement made with the neighboring property to share an easement, and once it’s finalized, the project managers can finish up with the DOT permit for the entry driveway.

The next step is a submission to the state fire marshal for a building permit, Coneen said.

He said there have been no road blocks so far, and that residents should start noticing site preparation and clearing come May.

“Every community we’ve put one of these it, it’s been really well received,” Conneen said.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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