A major hotel chain could be coming to Windham, catering to visitors to the Sebago Lake region and nearby ski resorts.

Heyland Development, owner of the Microtel Inn & Suites in York, is proposing a 74-room hotel across from the Seacoast Fun Park on Route 302.

The Windham Planning Board approved the plan for a three-story hotel and 9,000-square-foot retail or office building in 2007, but developer Erik Heyland “didn’t feel it was a good economic climate” and let the approval expire, he said Friday.

Heyland, who is negotiating with Maryland-based Choice Hotels, will present the project to the Planning Board again at 7 p.m. Monday.

Choice Hotels franchises more than 6,000 hotels worldwide under the Comfort Inn, Clarion, Econo Lodge and other brands, according to its website.

Heyland wouldn’t say which name the Windham hotel would carry, because no deal has been made.

There’s a desperate need for more lodging in the Windham area, which is now served only by campgrounds and motels, said Tom Bartell, Windham’s economic development director.

That has been a problem for people who visit the area on business, Bartell said. “If they need to stay in a hotel, they need to stay in one that’s not close by.”

The closest hotels of similar size are in Portland and South Portland, said Joseph Lee, executive director of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce.

Lee, a former president of Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, said there never were enough rooms in the area to accommodate guests visiting the campus for parents’ weekend.

Windham Assistant Planner Ben Smith said he believes there’s also a market for travelers on their way to the lakes and mountains beyond Windham who don’t want to stay at hotels in Portland.

Heyland said his company has done feasibility studies that prove what others know from experience.

“The demand seems to be quite high,” he said. “We’re hoping to fill a need and a void there.”

Heyland hopes to start construction of the first 50 rooms in the spring and open the hotel by the end of 2013, then expand to 74 rooms within the next couple of years.

He said he wouldn’t start building retail or office space until he found a tenant. He’s looking for a business, such as a salon or spa, that would complement the hotel.

 

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

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