Duluth-based Lion Hotel Group adds hotel in Bloomington

Duluth-based Lion Hotel Group Adds Hotel In Bloomington

The Home2 Suites by Hilton, owned and operated by the Lion Hotel Group in Duluth, opened recently in Bloomington, Minn. (Rendering courtesy of Lion Hotel Group)

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Duluth News Tribune

Duluth Minnesota 424 W. First St. 55802

The Duluth-based Lion Hotel Group owns and operates the Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn & Suites in downtown Duluth and is building a Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Hermantown. It also owns and operates midsize hotels in Florida, Ohio and Montana.

Now it s added another hotel to its portfolio. And it s a high-profile one. The Lion Hotel Group recently opened Minnesota s first Home2 Suites by Hilton in Bloomington, Minn.

The 107-room, extended-stay hotel is part of the sprawling Penn American residential/commercial development, five miles from the Mall of America. Phase one, which opened in 2012, includes 234 market-rate rental apartments and townhomes in three buildings and more than 14,000 square feet of retail. The hotel, designed for high-density urban locations, is part of the two-building second phase. It is in a five-story building fronting Penn Avenue that includes a Red Robin Restaurant and an AT&T store on the first floor, along with the hotel lobby. The hotel rooms fill the four upper floors.

Underground parking connects the hotel and retail to a new Thyme Farmer s Market grocery, also the first of its brand in Minnesota. The Lion Hotel Group partnered on the hotel portion of the development with United Properties, a prominent Minneapolis developer.

Their vision in combining the complementary uses of a popular grocery store and restaurant with an extended stay Home2 Suites by Hilton in the same development greatly enhances the profile of this intersection and will ensure a great guest experience, said Mark Labovitz, CEO of Labovitz Enterprises, the Duluth-based investment firm that owns the Lion Hotel Group. The hotel s amenities include a combined laundry and fitness area, grab-and-go items, complimentary breakfast, an indoor saltwater pool and an outdoor patio with firepit and gas grills.

The rooms have work spaces and kitchenettes.

The new hotel on West 80 Street is one of 89 Home2 Suites by Hilton in the United States, featuring all suites designed for modern business travelers and extended stay guests.



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Competition spurs Country Inn remodeling in Hermantown

You have to stay ahead of the competition, co-owner Dave Goldberg said.

Planning for the renovations started last fall when Goldberg and his three partners knew La Quinta Inn & Suites was under construction and that Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn Express was coming.

We believe we needed to be proactive, he said.

The recently opened La Quinta and the Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn Express now under construction are within a half-mile of the Country Inn on Haines Road, just east of Miller Trunk Highway. Another new hotel, Hampton Inn, is planned for a site 1 miles away by Home Depot.

Like Country Inn & Suites, the new hotels will provide guests with the enhanced amenities many guests are looking for today, short of a full-service hotel.

We know we have formidable competition, Goldberg said. That s why we decided to bite the bullet and try to stay ahead of the coming competition.

Goldberg and his partners operating as the IGO Legacy Hotel Group, formerly Hospitality Investors hold the Duluth-area franchise for the Carlson chain of Country Inn & Suites.

Goldberg maintains that Country Inn at 4257 Haines Road the group s flagship hotel is the leading hotel on the hill. And they want to keep it that way.

The first phase of renovations, which began in April, is nearly complete. The front desk, lobby and breakfast area have been remodeled with a new color palette and a clean, contemporary design, including new furnishings, flooring, fireplace, artwork and lighting.

Business conveniences for guests have been added, including iPads and connectivity tables. The fitness center has new workout equipment. The exterior has been painted, a veranda and fire pit added, and additional landscaping is coming.

We re trying to hold our clientele, Goldberg said.

We re working hard to maintain that connection.

Phase two begins this fall when bookings slow down. The corridors and all 84 rooms will be remodeled. The indoor pool, which has a waterslide, will get a new ventilating system.

The results will exceed the brand standards of a typical Country Inn & Suites property, according to general manager Janet Broin.

She said the choices for the guest room design and furnishings were made with the comfort of the guests in mind.

While hotels in Canal Park get a lot of tourists, those in the Miller Hill area get a combined market including tourists, shoppers, college-related visitors and business people. Being just 1 miles from the Duluth International Airport and offering airport shuttle services gives the Country Inn an added boost.

The airport is a major driver for business, Goldberg said.

IGO Legacy Hotel Group, which is based in Hermantown, has 11 other hotels in the region, including the AmericInn in Proctor.

Other hotels in its group have been undergoing renovations as well.

We ve committed $4 million to renovations this year, Goldberg said.

The owners have opted to invest in renovations and maintenance of their existing hotels, rather than grow their family of hotels, he said.

It includes major upgrades to the Country Inn & Suites in Baxter, Minn., and in Grinnell and Ames, Iowa, and to the AmericInn in Ames. The Coralville, Iowa, Country Inn & Suites will be done next year when additional money is budgeted for renovations.

The AmericInn in Proctor isn t on the list because it has undergone continued improvements during its 18 years and doesn t need a major makeover, Goldberg said.

But at $1.2 million, the owners are spending the most on the Country Inn & Suites in Hermantown.

We decided to go beyond what will be normal getting that property on the leading edge of what we can do with it, Goldberg said.

Hermantown is our flagship property.

It s always been the case.

We wanted it to be our showplace, and it has performed very well.

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