Looks like Mankato City Council members who have come and gone have discussed "the need" for another downtown hotel here in Mankato for some time. I ran across this website detailing the minutes of a Mankato City Council Meeting*. It contained a discussion on the need for a new downtown hotel in 1994:
7.1) Dennis Dotson, 210 Clover Lane, appeared before the Council to request that the Council approve phases one (market analysis) and two (site analysis) of the proposal submitted by ZHA, Inc. for a downtown hotel study. He explained the total cost would be $22,015 which would come from the tax increment fund. Phases three and four of the proposal they feel are not necessary, and that is what prospective hotels should do on their own. He proceeded to answer specific questions from the Council regarding ZHA, Inc.'s proposal.
He suggested to the Council that there be a civic center/arena preview day sometime late in September when the facility is enclosed. He stated many people are anxious to look at the facility. He stated Maureen Gustafson, Director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, is also present if the Council would like to ask her any questions.
Mr. Nawrocki asked Ms. Gustafson how many bookings they have so far for the arena/civic center. Ms. Gustafson stated they have a number of "soft" bookings at this point, however, they will be meeting with Ogden on August 8, 1994 to discuss the bookings. Ms. Sheran questioned why the City couldn't utilize the analysis prepared by hotels on what the hotel needs are. Mr. Dotson replied the hotels have biases, and they feel this hotel study would be a marketing tool at a reasonable investment. Ms. Gustafson commented a conference planner wouldn't want a major hotel, such as the Holiday Inn, to host a conference, and they put up the guests at other locations since there wouldn't be enough room at the Holiday Inn. Mr. Nawrocki commented the request for the hotel study came out of the Real Estate Committee, and he feels the Council would be very negligent in not having an outside study.
Mr. Nawrocki moved and Ms. Sheran seconded a motion approve phases one and two of the ZHA, Inc.'s proposal and have the Riverfront 2000 Committee come back to the Council with a quotation for a much broader study of the downtown area. Mr. Richter and Mr. Kennedy commented they were not in favor of this hotel study. Mayor Christ also echoed Mr. Richter's and Mr. Kennedy's comments, and stated a study isn't going to determine what's going to happen downtown, but the market will. There being no further discussion on the motion, the Council voted on the motion. With all members voting against the motion except for Sheran and Nawrocki, the motion failed.
Mr. Kennedy suggested that under Miscellaneous Business, the Council schedule a work session with Larry Forsythe to discuss downtown development.
*I have fixed the outdated link. Thanks to reader Mike Wills for the new link.