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“Tiny House Hotel” proposed for Snohomish

SNOHOMISH — A novel boutique hotel idea using tiny houses is set to sprout on the east end of town by the end of the year.
The idea is to install nine tiny houses at a vacant spot at 120 Willow Ave. as a lodging place; one would act as hotel lobby. The site is at the corner of Willow Avenue and Pearl Street a block north of First Street.
Each custom-built tiny house would look like a quaint cottage to fit with the historic homes in the neighborhood. Each 240-square-foot unit would have a full bathroom and a kitchenette inside plus the normal bed.
There are similar hotel concepts around the U.S., but nothing like it in the county.
The tiny house hotel is being put forward by Jeff Fransen, a longtime county resident, and his business partners.
“Snohomish is a great spot to do something like this,” Fransen said, noting the wedding venues, nearby soccer fields and other attractions. The units would be accented with Snohomish tie-ins, including the house names. Fransen said he wanted it this way to be part of the community.
City officials are excited. “I don’t know of another one like it in Snohomish County,” city economic development manager Wendy Poischbeg said, calling the idea well thought-out.
The concept is “a little unique, but it’s done elsewhere and done well,” Fransen said.
He said the hotel will be family-run, operated by Fransen’s wife and his partner’s wife.
The main clientele will be people who want to visit and shop Snohomish for overnight and weekend stays. City code prohibits staying beyond 30 days.
Fransen’s partner, who runs Marysville-based Carriage Houses NW, is custom-building each house. The site would have the houses built off-site and brought onto the property onto foundation pads to cause minimal disruption to neighbors.
Mayor John Kartak called the idea neat, complimenting how the houses would look.
“We need more hotel space and rather than have a big rectangular cube, I’m a big fan of having a boutique hotel,” Kartak said.
Planning documents describe it as a creative solution to using an unused land plot while staying with neighborhood character.
The site sold in February last year. The project filed its application with the planning department. Written comments regarding the proposal are being accepted through Wednesday, April 17 to the city planning department.
For a city desperate for lodging, it’s a welcome sight.
Snohomish lacks a full hotel, and its largest is the Inn at Snohomish with 22 rooms. The Countryman B&B is undergoing a change in ownership. Airbnb activity in Snohomish is brisk.
One obstacle for the city is trying to make the case to hotel owners that the city can provide hotel stays all week, instead of just weekend activity, Poischbeg said. The city already has a $13 million wedding industry and active weekends.


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