Companies continue to eye Oak Harbor

In a positive sign for Oak Harbor economy, businesses small and large continue to express interest in moving into the city.

Holiday Inn Express recently filed a pre-application for building a new hotel in Oak Harbor, according to city Development Services Director Steve Powers. He said the company is looking at a parcel of land on the west side of Highway 20, just north of Mitzel’s restaurant.

A Holiday Inn public relations official said she couldn’t comment on deals that were under speculation. According to the company’s Web site, Holiday Inn Express is a modern hotel for value-oriented travelers. There are currently more than 1,300 Holiday Inn Express locations around the globe.

“Fresh, clean and uncomplicated, Holiday Inn Express hotels offer competitive rates for both business and leisure travelers,” a company press release states.

In addition, a Lynden-based restaurant chain called Bob’s Burger and Brew is looking into the possibility of building a burger joint in Oak Harbor. Randi Elsbree, manager of the restaurant in Lynden, said “There’s a deal in the works, but nothing is definite.”

Yet she’s hopeful that something will be worked out. “Oak Harbor would be a great place for us to go,” she said. A new restaurant location was recently opened on Cook Road, just off Interstate 5, in Skagit County.

Bob’s Burger, she said, serves sit-down, gourmet burgers, as well as steaks, seafood, soup and even breakfast.

Representatives from Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, have also been talking to city staff about the possibility of building a retail center in the city. The company is interested in a few different properties on Highway 20.

Work is continuing on a retail and office space project on Highway 20 across from Safeway. When the project is complete, it will provide a new home for Oak Harbor Custom Floor Covering and Waldron Construction, as well as a seafood market. Vinton Waldron, the owner of Seabolt Smokehouse, plans to offer a variety of seafood, a deli-style cafe, a smokehouse and a small gift shop.

You can reach News-Times reporter Jessie Stensland at or call 675-6611.

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