Ground broken for new motel
By Neal A. Shipman
After months of speculation and rumors, it is official. Watford City will have a new motel open by the spring of 2012.
During an official groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 7, officials with the Watford Hospitality Group LLC unveiled their plans to construct a 77-room, three story motel on the west side of Watford City.
“It’s been in the works for the past six months,” states Roger Winkelman of Princeton, Minn., who is the builder and owner of the new motel, The Watford. “We like what’s going on in Watford City. The community has a real hometown feeling to it and we’re excited to be a part of it.”
According to Winkelman, construction on the $6 million motel will begin yet this month and he anticipates that the new motel will be open for business in the spring of 2012.
“The Watford will be a very upscale motel,” states Winkelman. “We are using a lot of granite throughout the facility. Plus other amenities of the motel will include a lobby with a fireplace, a pub, a convenience store, laundry facilities and a meeting room for guests and the community.”
According to Mike Vannett, who is one of the owners, he initially bought the property to the west of the McKenzie County Grazing Association office for an RV park. But upon the recommendation of McKenzie County Job Development Executive Director Gene Veeder, he began looking for investors to construct a motel.
“We’ve been talking about bringing in a new motel for a long time,” states Veeder. “This is going to be a great addition to our community, but even once this motel is up and running, the community is still going to be a couple of hundred motel rooms short of where it needs to be.”
According to Veeder, the last motel was built in Watford City in the early 1980s.
Brent Sanford, Watford City mayor, credits the determination of the community and the investors with making the new motel possible.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for a new motel to break ground,” states Sanford. “This is a wonderful thing for Watford City. The determination of the investors and for everyone who worked to bring this together has really paid off.”