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Hotel and restaurant eyed for century-old riverside factory in Hastings

HASTINGS, Minn.—The last remaining industrial building in downtown Hastings could soon be turned into a riverside hotel and banquet facility.

A 67-room hotel, 22 apartments, restaurant and retail space are planned for the former H.D. Hudson Manufacturing Co. building. The estimated $25 million project would bring the first modern-day hotel to the city's historic downtown, which has undergone a redevelopment resurgence in recent years.

The city seeks to turn over the property—which is about 50 feet from the Mississippi River and next to the U.S. Highway 61 bridge—to the developer this month.

Confluence Development, made up of local resident and businessman Pat Regan and Kentucky-based City Properties Group, took the proposal to city officials recently after finding a hotel management group for the project, said John Hinzman, the city's community development director.

"(Confluence) had some data earlier that made them question a hotel," he said. "But they rethought it, and found a group that wants to move forward with about 60 hotel rooms on the site."

The deal

The Hastings Economic Development and Redevelopment Authority bought H.D. Hudson's 3.8-acre site and brick building in 2010 for $2.9 million. In 2013, HEDRA chose to work with Confluence Development over two other developers that also submitted concept plans.

Under the proposal, Confluence would pay $1 for the land. HEDRA would get tax-increment financing funds generated over the next 25 years to repay itself for the land.

City officials and Confluence are planning to close on the sale at the end of January.

"We're both looking at getting this underway as soon as the transfer begins," Hinzman said.

The cleanup

The 100,000-foot-building and site have undergone about $2 million in environmental cleanup, most of it paid for through federal, state and county grants.

"It was our responsibility to clean the property up," Hinzman said. "Hudson was on the site for over 100 years, so we had some soil contamination. In the building itself, there were PCBs, lead-based paint, asbestos."

The building has been vacant since 2011 when H.D. Hudson—a manufacturer of commercial sprayers and sprayer systems—moved its operations about a mile southeast.

The three-story building was built in phases between 1913 and 1974 and offers riverfront views from its nearly 300 windows. A steel and concrete 1974 addition has since been demolished.

Making of a destination

Regan told the city council at a meeting last month that the goal all along has been to bring forward a project that will become a regional destination. He owns the Hastings Bus Co. and developed the Schoolhouse Square commercial mall along Vermillion Street about a decade ago.

"We're excited ... We've had people making regular inquiries of us as to how to get involved in the event space and how to get involved in the restaurant space," Regan said. "But we know enough to know we have to do things in a certain order. And we stand here grateful ... still committed to make this happen."

Parking plans

As part of the project, which would be completed in phases, Confluence would build a 119-stall parking ramp across the street at the former First National Bank property.

"The parking ramp should be open easily before the end of 2018, and that should be good for everybody downtown right way," Regan said.

Two other lots on the west side of the hotel could be developed in the future or used to expand the hotel, he said.

"That's why we're moving the ramp to the bank side, so we could preserve the more valuable land with good views of the river but still not impacting the public park," he said.