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Lodging study under way in Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove may not be a vacation hot spot but recent data produced by the city suggests that visitor lodging options have fallen below expectations.

The lack of lodging in the immediate area, City Administrator Ryan Schroeder said during a recent Economic Development Authority meeting, is often brought to the city’s attention by area businesses.

Cottage Grove has two lodging choices, a Country Inn & Suites on East Point Douglas Road and the Wakota Inn & Suites on 80th Street, adjacent to Highway 61.

In an attempt to determine if a market demand for more lodging choices is present, the city contracted with Hospitality Marketers International (HMI) to conduct a demand study. Lindsey Kaptur, a market researcher with HMI who specializes in hotel development studies, was in Cottage Grove in early December for a site visit.

Kaptur declined to comment on what the study will entail, citing “client privacy.”

Schroeder said city officials are expected to have an internal meeting this week to discuss progress and timelines.

“The goal is to identify if there is a market demand in Cottage Grove for additional lodging,” he said. “If the study suggests that there is, we would then use the study results to recruit interested hotel operators.”

The most recent attempt to bring in more lodging was in 2008 when the city preliminarily approved a site plan for a proposed 87-room Holiday Inn Express, which was to be located on a 1.7-acre site off Hardwood Avenue near Ruby Tuesday.

Despite talks of opening a year later, the deal fell through.