A hotel and restaurant could be built near the Bismarck Airport.

The Bismarck City Commission approved developer New Leaf Hospitality's lease agreement for three acres northwest of the airport at the corner of Airport Road and University Drive, south of the Tesoro gas station.

"It's going to be a great spot," said President Brett Erdmann.

The planned four-story Marriott Springhill Suites hotel would be 62,000 square feet, with 96 rooms, a pool, fitness room, business center and a patio with a firepit. Erdmann said his company's total investment in the property would be about $12 million.

"We feel it's the perfect fit for the airport and corporate travel," Erdmann said, and when it comes to hiring employees he hopes to build partnerships with the University of Mary and United Tribes Technical College.

The restaurant would be 5,000 square feet. Erdmann said they are still talking to possible restaurant companies to run the eatery but would like to see a steakhouse or other high-end lunch and dinner venue.

Bismarck Airport Director Greg Haug said the property was "ripe for development." There are hotels on Bismarck Expressway that serve the airport customer base but, located about a quarter mile away, the new Marriott property will be the closest.

The requested lease is for 40 years with three 10-year extension options. The lease rate is based on appraisal of the property and would provide $64,000 in annual rental income to the Airport Enterprise Fund, according to the Bismarck City Commission agenda packet.

A preliminary airspace study has been conducted. A final study and environmental review are still needed but Haug said indications are good that they will be approved.

Under the proposed rental agreement, construction would take place within 15 months of the agreement's finalization. Erdmann said he hopes to break ground as soon as possible in the Spring.

Erdmann has 25 years experience in the hotel business, including opening seven hotels in North Dakota over the last five years — two in Watford City and New Town, as well as properties in Stanley and Tioga. His company runs eight hotels now with five more in development.

Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com