This story originally appeared on Petaluma360.com, also part of the Sonoma Media Investments news network.

Petaluma’s options for overnight visits are set to receive an injection of 140 rooms after local officials last week approved an extended stay hotel near the city’s northern gateway.

Last Tuesday, the planning commission cast a 5-1 vote to clear a Home2 Suites by Hilton, a four-story, 85,802-square-foot hotel at 1205 Redwood Way, which will be visible from Highway 101 and add a new structure to the Petaluma skyline. Commissioner Diana Gomez voted against the site plans, and Chair Richard Marzo was absent.

“We’re excited to bring this to this community,” said Frank Marinello, vice president of development for Basin Street Properties. “The site has sat empty for as long as we’ve owned it from back in the early 2000s. We see this as a great amenity for that part of town and for those businesses in the business park.”

Gomez, the lone dissenter, was unimpressed by the passive efforts to achieve greater energy conservation for a property that will get seared by sunlight and require extra cooling during the summer months.

Marinello later said he would commit to adding solar to the project in some fashion, and officials attached a condition to the adopted resolution to ensure that request gets fulfilled.

Gomez was also critical of the uninteresting exterior design that would perpetually punctuate the northern gateway to Petaluma, describing it as “cookie cutter,” and failing to relay any sense of the city’s character.

The building employs a curved shape to correspond to the construction pad on the lot and, once erected, will continue the arc established by the neighboring property, Synergy Health Club.

Project representatives said the exterior design was mostly dictated by Hilton.

“I find it very vanilla as a building,” Gomez said. “I don’t find it to have a lot of architectural elements that (help distinguish it). To me, it could be put in any town.”

Acknowledging the body’s limited authority in terms of requiring design changes that would incur additional costs, Commissioner Patrick Streeter requested alterations to the neutral, northern facade.

“If there is some flexibility moving forward with this project, maybe including some kind of fenestration and wrapping some of the textures around the building – just to create more visual interest on that side of the building,” he said.

The project includes 141 off-street parking spots – five for wheelchair access, seven electric vehicle stations and 11 designated for clean-air vehicles. Redwood Way and Stub Road, via Scott Street, feed into the 1.18-acre site, southwest of the Redwood Gateway shopping center.

In addition to the 140 guest rooms, the hotel will include a lobby, fitness room, play lounge, meeting room, pool area and outdoor patio with a fire pit.

Last month, the city council discussed the findings from an independent study on the economic impacts of the proposed hotel, a municipal requirement for large projects totaling 25,000 square feet or more.

According to the assessment, the hotel will provide $1 million annually to the local retail economy, mostly from employee and guest spending.

Construction costs are an estimated $22.9 million, and will generate 140 temporary jobs over 16 months, providing $10.3 million in earnings. In all, 210 jobs will be created as a result of the project, amassing $14 million in wages.

The city will receive approximately $58,000 each year for the General Fund, derived mostly from property taxes. Annual transient occupancy tax revenues will total $531,000, and about $106,000 will go toward the Petaluma Tourism Improvement District.

This story originally appeared on Petaluma360.com, also part of the Sonoma Media Investments news network.

The city will also receive a one-time development impact fee of $864,000.

Hotels in the Petaluma and Rohnert Park market area operate at an 80% occupancy rate, above the industry standard of 75%, according to the assessment.

With demand increasing and more than 750 new rooms planned for the market, local officials welcomed a project that could anchor more tourism dollars in Petaluma and help buoy the occupancy rates.

“I think there’s a lot of emerging industries in this part of town that the hotel will support, which I think is a positive thing, especially with government agencies moving to the north end of town,” said Commissioner Scott Alonso. “This could be a nice amenity for those longer-term business travelers.”

(Contact News Editor Yousef Baig at yousef.baig@arguscourier.com or 776-8461, and on Twitter @YousefBaig.)