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East County Wednesday, Jul. 29, 2009 13 years ago

I-75 accessibility attracts hotels to East County

by: Pam McTeer

EAST COUNTY — East County residents and business owners have several new hotel options for their out-of-town guests.

Two hotels have opened in East County since January, and another two are expected to open within the next year.

The East County’s newest hotel facility is the 79-room Country Inns & Suites, which held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house July 23. The hotel offers rooms equipped with Internet access and a microwave and refrigerator. The facility also includes fitness and business centers and a heated pool.

Located just west of Interstate 75 on State Road 70 on Manor Hill Lane, the hotel is in a perfect location, developer P.D. Gadhia said. The facility’s proximity to both the Tara and Lakewood Ranch communities, accessibility to the interstate and restaurants and quiet setting will make it attractive to visitors.

“We are confident that we will be able to do well,” Owner/Manager Paul Patel said.

The Wingate by Wyndham opened off Lena Road at the end of January, and at least two more hotels are planned for the area — Hampton Inn & Suites and Manor House Inn & Suites.

The Hampton Inn & Suites currently is under construction at its location on Cooper Creek Boulevard and is expected to open in mid-November, said Chris Cope, vice president of sales and marketing for Buffalo Lodging Associates, the company that will own and operate the hotel.

The new 102-room facility will include high speed Internet and wireless Internet in public areas, a fitness center and business center.

“With some of the planned construction coming up in the future, it’s going to be an attractive area for other businesses to come,” Cope said. “There are numerous restaurants and shopping (locations) literally within walking distance.”

Manor House Inns & Suites, which will be located next to Country Inn & Suites, is not expected to open until 2010. Developer Stanley Appel, president of Manorhouse International Inns & Suites, said his hotel was scheduled to open in the spring of 2009 with 81 rooms. But because of the economy, he reconfigured the design to be a 59-room luxury boutique hotel.

“We’ve been working on developing a new concept that will fit in to the market place,” Appel said. “People like the smaller places with more privacy.”

Rob Ferguson, a member of the board of directors for the Sarasota/Manatee Hotel Sales Committee and director of sales at the Holiday Inn Lakewood Ranch and the Fairfield Inn & Suites Lakewood Ranch, said hotels in the area are seeing about a 20% decrease in overall revenues — 10% in occupancy and 10-15% in room rates.

The opening of new hotels is contributing to the lowered cost for rooms.

Currently, there are more rooms available than demanded by the market. However, Ferguson said numbers should balance out as the economy picks up.

Jessica Grace, marketing and public relations director for the Bradenton Area Visitors and Convention Bureau, agreed, adding that most of the new hotels were planned several years ago when the area was experiencing tremendous growth.

The area is seeing an increased need for hotel rooms based on amateur sports competitions such as soccer and baseball and the new rowing facility at Nathan Benderson Park. Small, executive-type meetings, weddings and educational travel also are bringing visitors to the area.

“With all these properties opening up, it really raises the bar (for other facilities),” Grace said. “It kind of shows what the new hotels are offering now, and being able to show that off in Manatee County is exciting and gives us something to talk about when we are out promoting the area.”

Contact Pam McTeer at [email protected].

HOTEL                            TOTAL ROOMS

Days Inn                                   59
Holiday Inn Express                 60
Econo Lodge                            54
Comfort Inn Bradenton             70
Motel 6 Bradenton                   121
Sunrise Inn                               99
TOTAL                                      463

Wingate by Wyndham              78
Country Inn & Suites                79
TOTAL                                      157

Fairfield Inn & Suites                   87
Holiday Inn Lakewood Ranch     128
Comfort Inn & Suites                  150
TOTAL                                        365

Hampton Inn                              102
Manor House Inn & Suites         59


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