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Nandit Mehta Building 70-Suite Candlewood Suites in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania


By Jim Hook, Public Opinion, Chambersburg, Pa.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Dec. 08, 2010 --A fourth motel on Walker Road will cater to business travelers planning extended stays in the Chambersburg area.

The owners of Candlewood Suites are banking on a study indicating people on business, not on vacation, rent most rooms in the area.

This month, excavation crews will begin moving utilities before construction of the three-story, 70-unit hotel at 231 Walker Road.

"We're hoping to get the project started in January at the latest, and we expect to open in July 2011," co-owner Nandit Mehta said. "Because of a lack of jobs, the construction cost is very competitive. At the same time, the economy is going up compared to last year. Hopefully by the time it opens, the economy will be a lot better."

Mehta said that staying at Candlewood is actually less expensive than staying in a typical hotel because Candlewood offers a better deal on extended stays of five to 60 days.

Chambersburg motels are not just overflow for events in Gettysburg and Carlisle, according to Mehta. According to a market feasibility study by the U.S. Hotel Groups, 65 percent of the rooms were rented by commercial customers, including the government.

Letterkenny Army Depot, north of Chambersburg, often hosts training sessions and conferences. A typical unit has a small kitchen, wall-mounted ironing board, a recliner and a work space with Internet access. Candlewood is one of the fastest growing chains using that prototype, Mehta said. Candlewood is modeled after its big-city sister Staybridge Suites for smaller communities.

Both are products of Atlanta-based InterContinental Hotel Group, which claims to have more rooms than any other hotel group in the world. ICH has more than 260 Candlewood Suites in the U.S. Another 350 are in the pipeline, Mehta said.

A land use permit was issued for Candlewood in October. Chambersburg Borough Council approved the land development plan in February.

The main entrance will be on Walker Road with secondary access on Gateway Avenue. The lot, located in a distributed commercial highway zone, is part of the Gateway Center shopping complex next to the Aki Japanese Steakhouse.

Candlewood will be the fourth motel constructed in 11 years along the strip paralleling Interstate 81 between Exits 16 and 17:

- A 50-room Best Western, 211 Walker Road, opened in 2000.

- A 70-room Country Inn and Suites opened in 2007 on Beddington Boulevard.

- A 49-room La Quinta Inn and Suites, 199 Walker Road, recently opened.

Mehta expects more restaurants and businesses to move to the strip. Council in 2007 approved plans for a Wings Etc. restaurant on a neighboring lot. Two other restaurants are planned within a quarter-mile of the site.

Mehta is general manager for Riyan Hospitality, which will own the Chambersburg Candlewood and operates eight other area hotels, including the Best Western in Shippensburg, Best Western in New Cumberland, Super 8 in Carlisle and five others in Virginia.

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Jim Hook can be reached at 262-4759 and jhook@publicopinionnews.com.

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Copyright (c) 2010, Public Opinion, Chambersburg, Pa.

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