By Errol Castens
OXFORD – In a city with just seven existing hotels, Oxford has four additional hotels in various stages, from early planning to almost closed-in.
The nearest to completion is the TownePlace Suites by Marriott, a 95-room extended-stay hotel on Ed Perry Boulevard, across from the Oxford Conference Center and adjacent to the Hampton Inn East.
“We’re on schedule. We have an excellent general contractor on the team, and it’s coming along,” said Chan Patel, whose family owns several hotels in Oxford. TownePlace Suites will be marketed as an extended-stay hotel. Currently workers are building the top story of masonry-block walls and beginning to frame in windows on lower levels.
“The roof is scheduled to go on the week of January 6,” said Randy Boyd of Carothers Construction Inc. “Once we get it closed in, the work will go fast.”
A second Marriott-brand hotel – a Courtyard by Marriott – is being built on Jackson Avenue, between downtown Oxford and the University of Mississippi campus. A project of Tupelo-based hotelier Bruce Patel, its construction is in the foundation phase. The four-story, 121-room hotel will occupy property that was designated for another hotel in 2006 but was never built.
Hotel Oxford is planned as a 120-room boutique establishment on the site of the former Downtown Inn and Suites just north of the Square, which is under demolition. Oxford officials approved a single-building, three-story design in 2012.
While Chamblee Co. spokesman Luke Chamblee is pursuing some changes in the design, he said earlier this month that the company hopes to begin construction in January.
A fourth in-progress hotel project in Oxford is proposed as The Gin Hotel, a boutique establishment whose name will reflect both a popular restaurant and bar that formerly occupied the property and the cotton gin that preceded it.
“We’re in the planning stage, the due-diligence stage,” Chan Patel said. “We’re talking to several franchisors about soft branding. Soft branding means you can use your own name, but you have the advantage of a reservations system.”
He said the project has moved from a possibility to a certainty, albeit without a defined time frame.
“There are no ifs, ands or buts about it,” he said. “As soon as the Marriott TownePlace Suites is open in May, we’ll have more time for planning it.”