TUPELO – Bruce Patel, the owner of the Comfort Suites and Howard Johnson locations in Tupelo, is expanding his hotel portfolio.
Patel expects to break ground by February on a four-story Best Western Inn & Suites on North Gloster Street just south of Chili’s. The 72-room hotel is scheduled to open in fall 2010 and will create 20 jobs.
Patel, through his company A.B.R.M.P Developers, also started construction two weeks ago on a Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Fulton. It’s expected to open in July with 20 employees.
He secured the franchise rights for the Best Western in Tupelo about two years ago. The hotel originally was slated to go behind Lowe’s with three other hotels.
The project lost steam when the economy slowed down and Patel said he has been “waiting for the right time” to build since then.
Patel said he opted to go for the new lot because it is a better location, in his opinion, with better visibility on North Gloster and several restaurants nearby.
“Even though Toyota hasn’t materialized, it hasn’t affected us really. We always saw it as a bonus and didn’t count on it,” Patel said, referring to the delay in construction of the automaker’s plant in Blue Springs.
“I think Toyota will come sooner than later, but we don’t make our decisions based on that.”
Right after Toyota announced its decision to build a plant near Blue Springs, several hotel projects were announced. Some fell through and others, such as the Hampton Inn & Suites in Tupelo Commons and the full-service Holiday Inn in east Tupelo, have been put on hold.
The Tennessee-based Kana Hotel Group, which owns the proposed Hampton location here, had to stop the hotel in the middle of construction earlier this year after financing dried up. Pipes currently poke up through the dirt pad and the elevator shafts are in the beginning stages.
Owner Alpesh Patel, who is not related to Bruce Patel, expected to resume work earlier this summer, but no construction has been done. He was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Other projects, such as Hilton Garden Inn’s expansion in downtown Tupelo and the new La Quinta Inn & Suites on North Gloster, moved forward. The HGI expansion opened early this year and La Quinta, which is across from Shoney’s, is slated to open next month.
“Every business is different,” Bruce Patel said. “Restaurants are different. Hotels are different. There’s no doubt it’s not what it was two years ago … There are so many hotels here, but the supply is dated. People want new.”
Patel said the Tupelo Best Western will include 20 suites that are bigger than regular rooms and have sleeper sofas. The hotel also will have an indoor pool, a feature he said has been extremely popular with guests at Comfort Suites.
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal