In time for the convention
It's official. With the recent ribbon cutting at the Sheraton Hotel on Tamarack Road and Bielenberg Drive, Woodbury has its very first four-star hotel.
For hotel developer Jerry Trooien, it couldn't have come at a better time.
Trooien has owned the land along the I-494/Tamarack interchange for 30 years and said he was excited to develop the parcel to its full potential, the site of an internationally-acclaimed hotel, equipped with 150 rooms, a state of the art fitness center and a full-scale restaurant, the Red Rock Bar and Grill.
"The zoning of this parcel had always been a challenge for us, but we knew if we put in the proper infrastructure, it could help us bring in potential customers," said Trooien, owner of the JLT Group Inc., a St. Paul-based investment and development firm. "We're really happy with what we've built in Woodbury."
The hotel officially opened for business Thursday, July 31, with a well-attended ribbon cutting ceremony. Several local officials were present, including Woodbury Mayor Bill Hargis.
"This is a great new addition to Woodbury," Hargis said. "This hotel fits the needs of our business community and fits the scope of what we hope to offer."
The business community is exactly the clientele that Paul Wischermann is aiming for.
Wischermann, whose company Wischermann Partners was the hospitality-development consultant on the project and will manage the hotel, said the proximity to the Twin Cities Metropolitan Airport and to businesses like 3M's world headquarters made for the ideal location. The Woodbury community also fit the concept, he said.
"Woodbury has a great environment and is a very upscale community," Wischermann said "It has great retail, good restaurants; what was missing in the equation really was an upscale hotel. Now we have that."
Two new upscale restaurants will eventually accompany the hotel in its space on the northwest side of Tamarack and Bielenberg. Ciao Bella and Grassfed Steakhouse are expected to open in 2009.
Ready for the Republicans
The timing of the hotel's opening isn't coincidental. With the Sheraton a 10 minute commute to downtown St. Paul, it was booked for the upcoming Republican National Convention months ago, according to hotel sources, who said C-SPAN and USA Today have reserved all the available rooms for the convention, which will run Sept. 1-4.
Wischermann would not confirm which organizations have rented out the hotel during the RNC, but said hotel construction company JE Dunn made sure it could finish the hotel a month ahead of the convention.
"We had planned all along to be open (by August 2008), but once the convention was announced and we had a hard date for construction we didn't want it to slide past that," Wischermann said. "You want to be open a month ahead of time so you have a chance to get everything ready. We even have some people who will be staying here two weeks prior to the convention. It's exciting to have that kind of business."
After the buzz of the RNC, hotel staff have plans in place to form partnerships with several other corporate entities in and around the community, said Teresa Glatz, director of sales and marketing for the Sheraton.
"We're in a good community with a lot of great business," Glatz said.