Marriott Hotel officially opens
“It’s a beautiful day outside, it’s a gorgeous day inside, and it’s an incredible day for this city.”
That’s how Federated Insurance chairman Jeff Fetters described Thursday’s opening of the new Courtyard by Marriott hotel in downtown Owatonna. Construction started last year on the 106-unit building, which sits at the corner of Pearl and Cedar.
The four-story building anchors the Hamilton Real Estate Group’s redevelopment project in the 200 block of Cedar. The work included demolishing three buildings and completely renovating two: the former Jerry’s Supper Club and Old Town Bagels.
During a ribbon cutting ceremony held inside the hotel lobby, Owatonna mayor Tom Kuntz called the hotel a “dream come true.” An Owatonna native, Kuntz said his aunt and uncle once owned a liquor store across the street.
“What an accomplishment this has been,” he said.
Developer Mac Hamilton said a “really hard-working team” made his company’s first hotel project happen. He credited a relationship with Federated Insurance that developed as Hamilton built the 111 Vine luxury apartments, a block south of the hotel.
“During the process of working with Federated, I became close to leadership and the question came to me, would I consider building a hotel,” he said.
Fetters recalled meeting with Hamilton Group representatives in 2020-2021, during the height of the COVID pandemic. While they wondered whether that was a good time to build a hotel, “We all said let’s go, let’s go.”
The hotel, Fetters said, really came out of the work done by Owatonna Forward in looking at what people wanted for the city 10 to 20 years in the future. That vision included a new high school (slated to open next fall), a revitalized downtown, and more restaurants, housing, and shopping.
“There is still much, much more to come based on what you said you wanted to see happen in Owatonna,” he said.
Paul Wischermann of Wischermann Partners said hotels are “usually a beacon of commerce.” He said the Marriott will be part of the community, not a corporate monolith.
“Today is not the day when we’re done,” he said. “Today is the day when we start.”