The Design Review Board approved a new hotel along Camino del Rio Wednesday after reviewing major plan changes for the building.
“I didn’t expect the amount of redesign that this team just did,” board member Carolyn Hunter said.
The other board members also praised the changes, including lowering the height of the building facing the river from four stories to two. The entire building is also shorter. At it’s highest point, it will be 45 feet tall instead of about 54 feet tall.
“I am very pleased with the solution you have come forward with,” board member Tom Berry said.
The Durango Planning Commission will review plans for the hotel next, and if approved, they will not be reviewed by the Durango City Council.
The brand of the proposed hotel, that would replace 10 businesses at 1111 Camino del Rio, has not been released. But John Klimpel with Lincoln Design Group told the board that it is one of the top brands in the country.
Several residents opposed the project because of its potential to increase traffic at an already congested area and what they considered a bland design, among other reasons.
“We are making our city more and more generic,” Kelly Mathews said.
Jessica Wheeler criticized the hotel’s plan to extend the Animas River Trail. The developer expects to build a bridge to the hotel.
“It will just drop you off at the hotel or a used-car lot,” she said.
If the developers want to give residents an amenity, they could help build the trail connection to Three Springs or help replace the climbing gym that the development will displace, she said.
In addition to the trail, the hotel is including a seasonal cafe facing the river that will be open to the public. It could also be required to build pads for public art along the trail, planner Scott Shine said.
Along the front of the building, the developer plans to build a sidewalk and a median on Camino to help control traffic.
“I think this project will start to set the stage for what the corridor will look like,” Shine said.
Two former tenants of 1111 Camino del Rio, Cloud 9 Head Shop and Concrete Sk8 Shop, have moved in anticipation of the hotel, said John Bregar, owner of the property. This leaves 10 businesses that may have to relocate.