Developer leads city officials tour of Auburn’s Hilton Garden Inn

AUBURN – Lee Griswold admitted that even he has trouble making sense of the inside of Auburn’s Hilton Garden Inn at the moment.

There’s no cheery carpeting, no welcoming signs and no concierge staff on hand to help someone tell the difference between the spa area and the hotel laundry yet. Most of the passageways are filled with leftover construction materials and dust.

It’s easy to get mixed up, even if you are the developer.

“Sometimes I’ll walk through and wonder, what the heck is that,” Griswold said. “I can’t remember what half of it is without looking at the plans. So bear with me.”

But the hotel is on pace for an early July opening, Griswold told Auburn city councilors Monday night. Griswold gave councilors a quick tour around his hotel, from the first floor’s back patio on up to the sixth floor and a three-room suite overlooking the Great Falls.

“With the building situated with the way it is, it really makes the most of the view,” Griswold said in the patio overlooking the falls. “This is going to become the shot for weddings. This will be the place people will want to have their pictures taken.”

It was the closest most people have been to the project since the plank raising ceremony last October. Plans call for 110 guest rooms in the 67,645-square-foot hotel, with 5,000 square feet of meeting space on the Great Falls Plaza. Griswold said he expects to employ between 60 and 90 people when the hotel opens.

Since July, when work officially began, crews have built six floors, put bricks and facing on the outside walls and started turning the inside into a world class hotel.

That involves installing hundreds of miles of electrical, telephone data and coaxial cable, three massive water heaters, propane heaters to keep the swimming pool and spa warm and the heating and air conditioning system.

Rooms on the second floor are the closest to being finished, he said. The second floor hallway has vinyl wallpaper up and finished ceilings. Crews will concentrate on finishing the room walls, the floors and installing the bathroom fixtures.

Each floor up takes a step back, with the sixth floor having the most work left to do. Still, Griswold said he’s still planning on opening in little more than two months.

Elevator shafts are ready, and should have elevator cabs installed within a month or so, Griswold said. Then, crews will begin installing furniture and fixtures.

“Seeing the bricks and mortar, that really is the best part for me,” Griswold said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come through here when I’ve been having a tough time. Seeing this reminds me of why I’m doing it.”

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