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New hotel breaks ground

By Staff | Oct 20, 2012

City leaders and representatives from Cobblestone Hotels met Oct. 11 at noon to ceremonially break ground on a new 36-unit Cobblestones Inn and Suites, which will be located just east of Dakota Farms on the south side of U.S. Highway 2.

Cobblestone President Brian J. Wogernese said Rugby typifies the type of growing communities the company has been building in.

“Rugby is really the perfect model for what we’re doing,” he said. “There’s a lot that goes into it. The whole economy, whether it’s agriculture or oil, the state’s economy is doing well. We’re happy to be a part of it.”

Jim Bortz, vice president of development for Cobblestone Hotels, said his company has 21 hotels throughout the Midwest, including newly established buildings in Carrington and Langdon.

Bortz said the Cobblestone franchise, which is based out of Neenah, Wisc., caters to towns the size of Rugby.

“We found there are a lot of towns with populations 2,000 to 8,000 that just don’t have the lodging to keep people in town,” he said.

Bortz said the company was formed in 2008, “to meet the needs of ‘Small Town, USA’ with quality mid-scale lodging.”

There are also Cobblestone Hotels just under construction in Bottineau and Harvey, with the Harvey hotel scheduled for completion in February, 2013 and the Bottineau and Rugby hotels set to open in March.

He said the project got started about two months ago. He was traveling between Bottineau and Harvey, stopping in Rugby at Bremer Bank, which has partnered on projects with Cobblestone, including the one in Rugby.

“They’ve really got a nice niche for our size community,” Rugby Bremer president Wes Black said. “It’s been very successful in this type of community. They bring in local investors, which is great.”

The hotel will have a variety of rooms and will feature a hot breakfast, an exercise room and a washer and dryer.

Bortz said many Cobblestones have a pool and hot tub, but developers opted for a lounge in the Rugby location.

He said there will be a menu with about 10 items served out of the lounge.

Bortz said the lounge may appeal more to the expected clientele, which he believes will be more traveling workers than families.

The process wasn’t without a few minor bumps in the road. The Rugby City Council earlier this month, had approved a building plan and tax exemption for the hotel, an exemption application which was withdrawn at a later meeting since the process would have taken an extra month.

Instead, the company, which plans on going to work on the site within the next 10 days, will ask for payment in lieu of taxes which will allow them to seek similar tax exempt status but get the job started immediately.

“Everything is on track, it just takes time,” Mayor Dave Cichos said. “It’s fallen into place. We’re hoping come spring, we’ll have a nice hotel, a nice addition to Rugby.”

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