Tuesday, February 21, 2006

New poll question!

I've taken down the old poll "Which restaurant would you most like to see in Grand Forks?". You can click here to view the results from that poll. I didn't find it too surprising that The Olive Garden was the top vote getter at 33%. It seems like people have been wishing for one of those for years now. It should be a sign to the company that Grand Forks really seems to want them here. The next most desired restaurant was Space Aliens with 28% of the vote. Rounding out the results were IHOP at 23% and Johnny Carino's with just 15% of the vote. Thanks to everyone who voted!

Time for a new question...
What would you most like to see attached to the new Canad Inns hotel/waterpark complex? By the way, if you answer "Other", please leave a little note here letting us know what you would wish for. Happy voting!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

A winter garden/arboretum - A year-round garden that would provide a place for people to get away from winter for a little while. Unfortunately, this wouldn't make anybody any money directly...

GrandForksGuy said...

That sounds like a great idea, anonymous. There has actually been talk of building something like this in town before. Sounds like something for the park district to be involved with. Unfortunately, I think that the park district is quite strapped for cash right now. I know that the park district would like to build a new community wellness center in the future...perhaps an indoor garden could be a part of something like that.

UND Student said...

When I want green, I go to the plant nursery on S. Washington. There are two of them on that street, the one I go to is the really big one with many greenhouses and also trees outside + a duck pond. I will just walk around looking at the merchendise, enjoying the warm humidity, cacti, palms, flowers and so on. Best FREE thing to do in Grand Forks on a cold day, hehehe. I love that store. Their plants are cool, though more pricey than Walmart for obvious reasons (quality not quantity). I usually buy something every so often as a sort of "admissions price" to relieve my guilt hehehe. Seriously, that place is awesome. It would be grat if they moved their greenhouse to 42nd, though it is impossible given the fact that their merchendise has phyiscal roots in their current location..

GrandForksGuy said...

All Season's is a beautiful greenhouse. It is such a nice place year round. My family has purchased our summer annuals there for years...great memories. When I was a kid, the location used to seem like it was really out in the country, but now it seems like the city is getting closer every year. It really is the nicest (and biggest) greenhouse that I am familiar with in the region.

Anonymous said...

What would I like to see attached? It's very simple.

Westin, Hyatt, or Marriot, and all the features, benefits, and resources that comes with these established operators.

Sorry if I'm "picky".

Ben said...

Anonymous,

Have you ever seen or stayed in a Canad Inns? I am guessing no, otherwise you wouldn't be so "picky" about a brand you have heard of. Go to the website at www.canadinns.com and check them out, and their plans for the Grand Forks location, especially before you infer they are an inferior brand.

UND Student said...

Well I don't think either anonymous or ben is right or wrong... The problem with hotels is they don't just have one hotel--they have many hotels, and many types of hotels under one name. There are Grand Hyatts, Hyatt Regencys, and so forth. Now I looked at Canadinn's website, and they don't really have anything to compare to upscale Hyatts, Westins, Marriotts, BUT, that is not to say that they are an inferior brand. The problem is they are not located in Vancouver, Seattle, or NYC. There is not a market in Winnipeg to support a luxury hotel. I stayed at the Fairmont in Winnipeg for dirt cheap (179CAD?), and I dind't even pay the lowest price. The Fairmont in Seattle costs more than I would be willing to spend... BUT, the hotel is also considerably nicer. There is a market in Seattle for people who want to spend minimum $350 a night (cheapest room at the Grand Hyatt), not including tax mind you.

Anyway, the point of my post is that I too would like to see a luxury hotel like that of metropolises, but of course that won't happen until Grand Forks metro pushes past 1 million people...

The Canadinn planned for Grand Forks should suit Grand Forks alright, and bring a twist to hotels... I think these "themed rooms" must be a distinactly canadian thing... and I think it might just work in North Dakota :-D So, I'm glad CanadInns thinks Grand Forks is worth their $40 million...and I hope their hotel is a success, and spurs development along 42nd :-D

Anonymous said...

I wish developers in the area would put more effort into good design. There's a tendency to equate good design-graphic, architectural, landscape and interior-with being expensive. It needn't be.

As Grand Forks nears a tipping point in its growth, I hope community and business leaders will aspire to create spaces that inspire us, instill civic pride and demonstrate to visitors that we're a city with vision.

Ben said...

I guess maybe I wasn't articulate enough in my last post. I agree with UND Student that it would be nice to see those Hyatt or upscale Hilton brand names come to Grand Forks. However, I know that the Grand Forks market would never support a hotel with the average nightly stay costing upwards of $200-$300. Canad Inns seems like the best option now, as they are willing to invest nearly $50 million. That is a risk, by the way none of those other companies were willing to make. The design of the hotels in Winnipeg, and the one in Brandon MB that Canad own are all very nice (not five star, but four). They are a great fit, and quite "upscale" compared to any other hotels in ND.

Anonymous said...

What those arguing "Canad is not nice enough or big enough" typically fail to mention is that Canad came to the table in the second RFP process. The city did issue an RFP about a year prior and did get proposals from a number of large operators, but all were ruled out because those large operators were asking for too many incentives.

As long as the Canad is similar to the Hilton in quality it will be fine. The reason the Hilton does good business is because it is the only "decent" business hotel in town. If you are bringing in partners, clients, or event speakers, that's where you put them.

The Alerus is the most flexible and best desinged conference facility in the region, (excluding MSP of course). The important thing for the city was to get a hotel in there with acceptable terms. A free land lease, $1mm in improvements and $1.2mm in marketing over 3 years is a good deal. Canad is not Hilton in name recognition, but that factor is not really that important when booking meetings, it just means Alerus staff will need to work a bit harder to articulate their case. Where the name recognition comes more into play is with causal and leisure travelers, Canad obviously recognizes that and is addressing it with the waterpark and the general scope of the project (it will be well known in the area and visible).

Personally I like the idea of working with a smaller, privately-owned company. This is a big investment for them, and a big risk, they are going to do whatever it takes to make it successful, and they are a regional partner. The fact that they were able to piece together the debt financing on that deal is an an endorsement, that is not easy to do for private hotel projects.

Zaya said...

I've heard it mentioned that we will eventually get an Olive Garden, and the reason we don't have one yet is due to Red Lobster. They are owned by the same company and there are agreements in place that specify distance and time. If they can't get far enough apart, then they have to wait long enough before building. I don't know how much merit there is to this. However, someone with your sleuthing abilities may be able to verify it.