|By Errol Castens, Northeast Mississippi
Daily Journal, Tupelo, Miss.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
June 15, 2010 --OXFORD -- The Oxford Planning Commission gave its approval Monday for a Hampton Inn on a two-acre site directly across Ed Perry Boulevard from the Oxford Conference Center.
The east Oxford site is also across from The Commons, a long-planned mixed-use development that has been limited so far to a Wendy's hamburger restaurant and a movie multiplex whose several start attempts have lasted only a few weeks each and that currently stands closed.
Nearby is Della Davidson Elementary School, Oxford's newest campus. Both a new hospital and a new high school have also been proposed for sites near The Commons.
The 88-room, four-story inn proposed by Ganesh Investments LLC will fill a role that's been obvious since the conference center's creation.
"There has been a dire need for a hotel to support the conference center," said Murray Avent, whose family began the development of the area east of Highway 7 off Sisk Avenue.
Tourism officials have said repeatedly that the venue could attract more trade shows, conferences, weddings and other events if adjacent lodging were available.
Chan Patel, one of the Ganesh principals, said his family also oversees Holiday Inn Express and Suites and Hampton Inn, both on Heritage Drive in west Oxford. Construction, which could begin within the month, is expected to take 11 or 12 months with reasonably good weather.
"We'd like to get it closed in by December so if this winter is like last winter, work can still go on," Patel said. Asked whether being ready for the 2011 University of Mississippi football season was a goal, he said that would be a bonus.
"This is a 30-year property," he said, "so one football season will not make or break it."
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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