Plan for 'bike hotel' worries some businesses

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:

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SEATTLE - A well-known Seattle developer wants to bring a new hotel and retail space to the University District.

There's just one catch: It has almost no parking, and local businesses call that a big problem.

The site of Ron Sher's proposed bike hotel is along the Burke-Gilman Trail between University Village and Seattle Children's Hospital.

Sher is known for his revitalization of Crossroads mall in Bellevue, as well as for developing Third Place Books in Ravenna.

"I've never heard of a bike hotel before but I like the idea," cyclist Alex Price said. "More bikes is better for all of us."

KIRO 7 found websites for bike hotels, mostly in Europe, advertising bike tours and rentals.

Hotel Boemia in Italy advertises special massages for cyclists' legs and a sauna for recovery from long trips.

According to a proposal filed with the city, the project would have 26 rooms, a restaurant, retail space, and four off-site parking spots. The plan also includes the use of 10 street parking spots, which the city says cannot be counted since they're not developed as part of the project on private property.

See the plans here.

"I thought it was insane," Linda Gair, owner of Ciao Amore Italian restaurant next door, said.

Even if hotel customers are on bikes, she says shoppers and employees would clog up neighborhood streets or use her parking.

"I am very concerned about our parking lot being used all day long and they have to put a security person out there to make sure it doesn't happen," Gair said.

But Sher told KIRO 7 by phone that he believes the lack of parking spots will work in the opposite way, encouraging people to travel there by bus or other means of transportation.

He said the hotel would be small but high-quality, with employees directing cyclists to bike trails and a featured bike share on-site.

Sher said he'd expect hotel employees to take the bus or ride a bike to work and would factor it into the hiring process.

KIRO 7 asked the city about its plans for parking requirements.

"We'll look at the very site-specific parking issues as we move further along in the process," Bryan Stevens, spokesperson for Seattle's Planning & Development Department, said, "so more parking could be required."

He said the planning department will do an environmental review over the next few months to determine how many spots are appropriate.