Missoula developer hopes to build hotel in Whitefish


KALISPELL, Mont. - Whitefish is considering adding a new hotel, and construction could begin as early as June 1.

The proposed site is off Highway 93 in Whitefish, right where a Wendy's restaurant once was. The restaurant closed down in 2012 due to health code violations.

What remains of the old restaurant could soon become the site for a brand new hotel, and they could begin to break ground on it in just a few months.

Larry Lambert has been in the hotel businesses his entire life and runs multiple other hotels in places such as Great Falls and Nampa, Idaho. Lambert said he's been interested in building a hotel in Whitefish for quite some time.

"Kind of been looking at it for a little while. Late last fall is when we really went all in and had a feasibility study done and the feasibility study came back real strong, and that's when we really got started," said Lambert.

Wednesday Lambert met with members of the community at the old Wendy's building to hear concerns and questions they may have about the project, along with sharing the details of hotel, which is estimated to cost around $8 million.

NBC Montana spoke with a few people and hotel workers Wednesday and they all say they are supportive of the idea, and they believe competition breeds excellence.

"Most everyone we talked to has been really supportive. Most people we talked to say 'yes, Whitefish does need another hotel.' We're filling a niche that currently isn't being filled in town. So I think it's been overall pretty darn supportive," said Lambert.

Lambert plans to waste no time is all things go according to plan. He hopes to begin construction in just a few short months.

"If everything goes according to plan, we would like to be out of the ground or starting construction as early as June 1, as late as July 1. And we'd like to be open for next summer so we'd like to be open no later than May 1 of 2015."

The Whitefish Planning Board will hold a public forum to discuss the plans of the hotel before turning their recommendation over to the city council. The Whitefish City Council is expected to discuss the hotel plans at their next meeting on April 7.

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