Construction in full swing for Walla Walla's Courtyard by Marriott

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Construction on the 120-room Courtyard by Marriott is getting into full swing, operators say.

Work is ramping up at the Rose Street property on a hotel project that’s been more than five years in the works.

Walla Walla Hospitality LLC owners Chris and Christine Ashenbrener of Spokane are serving as general contractors and will own and operate the hotel, according to an announcement from Walla Walla Hospitality.

Although its location has previously been described as the Ninth Avenue and Rose Street, the development is on the eastern portion of the giant property where Walla Walla’s last local cannery shut down in 2004. It’s technically situated at Seventh Avenue and Rose Street.

An opening of fall 2014 is anticipated.

The new hotel will feature the latest design highlights and amenities adopted by the brand. That includes communal gathering areas in the lobby, exterior patios with fire pits, private seating booths with connectivity devices, a small home theater, a library and business desks, Marriott’s signature bar and restaurant, and an exhibition kitchen for cooking classes and demonstrations, plus wine pairings and other wine tasting events. The hotel will also have conference room space, which can be configured into one, two or three separate areas with event catering available through the onsite restaurant and kitchen.

Financed through US Bank, the project was designed by architect Kurt Jensen of Jensen & Fey Architects of Redmond, Wash. Interior design will be overseen by Jennifer Eagle and East West Design of Seattle. The hotel will be managed by The Hotel Group (THG) of Edmonds, Wash.

The Ashenbreners said the start of construction is the cap on an extensive land acquisition process that started in 2008. It involved Blue Mountain Associates, the original proposed developer of the property, and the Bank of Whitman, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, federal courts in New York and Oregon, a foreclosure in Washington and numerous intermediate negotiations, owners said.

THG is a Top 50 hotel company that manages and/or owns 28 properties in 10 states. It represents 10 brands and employs more than 1,600 people. It operates the Courtyard by Marriott Richland and in Missoula, Mont., and the Fairfield Inn & Suites Anchorage.

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