INDEPENDENCE — This project has been in the works for a long time, since 1996, Mayor John McArdle said during the groundbreaking in March 2018.
“This wasn’t just one person’s idea,” he said. “The community helped us come up with the idea that a hotel and a development right here makes sense.”
It is in the area known as Independence Landing, 2.5 miles of riverfront property lining the Willamette River.
“We couldn’t be any more excited about it,” said Sondra Storm, of Embarcadero Hospitality Group.
Willamette Valley-based EHG is managing the hotel.
They will hire 40 employees to staff the hotel, Storm said.
Developer Tokola Properties is building the property.
Dwight Unti, owner and president of Tokola Properties, said he and his team have been focused on the vision of marrying hospitality use and new housing to energize the historic downtown district in Independence.
The hotel is not affiliated with a large chain.
“We wanted to make it independent so it could tell the story of the community as well as meet all of the needs of the people coming through,” Storm said.
The Independence, a Trace Hotel, is a highly customized 75-room boutique hotel on the Willamette River.
The design embraces the river, The Independence Amphitheater and Riverview Park, the walkable downtown and nearby wineries.
The pet-friendly, smoke-free hotel is “positioned to be attractive to business guests, Western Oregon University visitors, wine country guests and a wide range of leisure travelers,” she said.
Storm said they talked with about 30 different stakeholders — including those from companies, wineries and cyclist organizations — to ask them what is going to draw people for their activities.
“We made the rooms a little bit wider,” Storm said.
That invites a view of the river into the room and allows for in-room bike storage.
All rooms have views of the river or Riverview Park.
The river and downtown may also be viewed from the hotel’s rooftop deck.
An outdoor patio for the restaurant and bar overlooks the river.
The restaurant will feature wine from the Eola-Amity Hills, Van Duzer, Mt. Pisgah and other Willamette Valley AVAs, as well as Willamette Valley beer and ingredients from nearby farms.
There is a 24-hour bike work room.
“(Guests) can go in with their tools and tinker with their bikes,” she said.
Other amenities include bicycle wash stations, a business center, a fitness center, and a massage room.
“Let me tell you, we wanted to create something that was dynamic, that was unique, that would provide an experience when people came to stay at the hotel, that will allow them to relax, to unplug, to enjoy and explore this beautiful community, to enjoy the river and all that this community has to offer,” Unti said. “That is what our vision was.”