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Dignitaries perform the ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday for a Cambria Suites hotel to be constructed near the intersection of Interstate 94 and 9th Street East in West Fargo. It is to be the company's first hotel in North Dakota. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service

Groundbreaking held for West Fargo Cambria Suites

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Ground was broken June 18 for West Fargo's newest hotel and first full-service meeting complex, the Cambria Suites Hotel and Convention Center located at 19th Ave. E. and Beaton Drive.

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Plans call for a four-story, 103 all-suite hotel, connected to a 15,000 square feet conference center with meeting space to accommodate 400 people.

Michael Murphy, senior vice president of upscale brands for Choice Hotels International, one of the world's largest hotel franchisors, and Kevin and Aaron Johnson, of KAJ Hospitality, the hotel's owner and developer, were present along with West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern and other city officials and members of the business community.

Murphy said that when he met the Johnsons 18 months ago they were visualizing plans. "Today it's all about bringing that vision to life with the Cambria Suites. We are so pleased to be here in West Fargo. All we have been hearing about is the growth in West Fargo and that speaks a lot to the group that is here today."

Murphy said the plans also includes infusing local art and culture into the Cambria Suites property along with local food and beverage options. "We forge deep and meaningful relationships with the communities in which we locate. We feel this is the right hotel in the right place and we want this to be your hotel."

Representing KAJ Hospitality with offices in Sioux Falls and Mitchell, S.D. and another in Kansas, President and CEO Kevin Johnson said he felt the hotel "a perfect fit for what we are trying to accomplish in West Fargo. We have been so impressed with the city leaders welcoming us with open arms and doing everything in their power to get this going. We are in complete alignment with the vision and the strategy for the Cambria Suites brand. We look forward to serving West Fargo's growing population and participating in the economic development of this dynamic city and region."

Speaking on behalf of the city, Mattern touted the groundbreaking stating "Today is extremely important for us. We have been looking for a convention center for a long time so this is perfect. We want to thank you for working with the city of West Fargo. Cambria Suites is going to be a great hotel and I am really, really looking forward to your ribbon cutting at the completion of the complex next year."

With the addition of the Cambria Suites West Fargo hotels will have 283 rooms to offer to travelers to the greater West Fargo area, with the Cambria Suites alone expected to draw over 50,000 visitors annually.

The facility, an investment of more than $17 million creating 325 jobs -- about 250 project construction and technical jobs and approximately 75 full and parttime hotel and convention center employees -- is expected to open in the spring of 2014.

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