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TownPlace Suites going up in Garden City

6/26/2013

By RUTH CAMPBELL

By RUTH CAMPBELL

rcampbell@gctelegram.com

Around April 2014, Garden City will have its first Marriott hotel.

The TownPlace Suites by Marriott is being developed by Plains Management of Oklahoma City at 3510 Kansas Ave. Project cost is an estimated $9.5 million.

Ryan Slater, managing partner of Plains Management in Oklahoma City, said the foundation for the four-story TownPlace Suites was poured at the beginning of May. The hotel will offer 120 suites for extended stays. About 88 of the suites will be one- and two-bedroom studios with full-size refrigerators, stoves, microwaves and cooktops. The remaining rooms will be open-plan suites.

"We should have the first four walls up right now," Slater said.

Kim Inderlied, executive director of the Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said housing is "really tight right now" in Garden City, "so extended stay hotels are one option for people coming in for work."

"I know Menards had a difficult time finding living space for their employees," Inderlied said. She added that some travelers appreciate the extended stay environment and "for families with children, you can't beat it."

An identical hotel is going up in Dodge City — one that should be open in March 2014, Slater said. Both are being built by HDI Hotels of Dixon, Ill.

The hotels in Garden City and Dodge City are expected to employ 20 to 25 people each, both hourly and salaried.

"It's always our goal to be hiring full-time employees and people that are more long-term," Slater said. "The last thing we want is a lot of turnover. I think we always think of it that way rather than short-term fixes."

A wage survey will be conducted to determine the local going rate for hotel staff members.

"... We like to hire (at) what we think is a competitive rate with competitive benefits and other things," Slater said. "... (There will) be employee benefits with health insurance and 401Ks, all the things that come with employment working for a little bit larger company."

First announced in June 2012, the TownPlace Suites, as with most hotels, took a lot of planning, Slater said. Once the site was found, things "moved pretty quick," Slater said.

"We've been working on this for over a year. ... It's the planning, the equity part of having to find partners, getting banks, (and) getting a brand on board," he said.

And with Marriott, the company inspects the hotels.

"It needs to be up to Marriott standards," Slater said.

The hotel will sit on a 6-acre site with the lodging taking up 2 to 2.5 acres. The remainder of the land could be used for another hotel, depending on how this one does, Slater said.

"This this will be a good test. I think we kind of have to strategically look at how well this does. We're putting in 120 rooms, which is a big amount of rooms to put in a smaller market like this. We want to see how those get absorbed first, especially with another 120 rooms 50 miles away," he said.

The developer doesn't see the hotels as being in competition with each other.

"... I think if anything, we'll look at it as an advantage. We can sell them both with a single salesperson if we have to. I think, if anything, they will complement each other," Slater said.

Two other hotels are also going up in Garden City, with a third possibly on the way in Holcomb.

Amro Samy, owner of Clarion Inn, 1911 E. Kansas Ave., is building a Sleep Inn right next to his current hotel, which he plans to open in July. And P-Jay Patel, owner of Continental Inn, is building Best Western Plus-Emerald Inn & Suites near the Holiday Inn Express, 2502 E. Kansas Ave., which is expected to open in late fall.

Also, Choice Hotels has submitted a letter of intent to build a hotel in Holcomb as part of a larger development at the intersection of Big Lowe and Jones roads near the exit of U.S. Highway 50.

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