|By Robyn L. Minor, Daily News, Bowling
Green, Ky.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
June 10, 2012--Two extended-stay hotels under construction will bring the total to four of such properties in Bowling Green.
David Chandler recently broke ground on a Marriott TownePlace Suites on Cave Mill Road. The 101-suite facility is expected to take about a year to construct, Chandler said.
Meanwhile, construction of the 127-suite Staybridge Suites on Campbell Lane is on time and on its budget of $14 million, according to developer Douglas Artusio.
"We will be open Nov. 15 as originally scheduled," Artusio said. "We already have a number of groups committed from (Western Kentucky University) as well as from social events."
The property is adjacent to the Carroll Knicely Conference Center, which is on Nashville Road. Staybridge Suites will be connected by sidewalk to the Knicely property, he said.
Vicki Fitch, executive director of the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the CVB started listing the Staybridge property's availability on its website when ground was broken for the project.
"I will call Dave Chandler and offer to do the same thing," Fitch said.
Fitch said the properties will join two other extended-stay businesses in Bowling Green: Candlewood Suites and Hometown Suites. Together, those properties have 195 rooms.
Chandler said the $7 million TownePlace will have a pool, two conference rooms and other facilities. Each suite in the four-story building will have a kitchenette.
"I think we will see a lot of families from the leisure market on the weekend with all of the softball and baseball tournaments that we have here, and then through the week we will have a lot of corporate clients who are on per diems, and they can stay here and eat in their rooms," he said.
Chandler said he will hire about 35 employees to operate the facility.
Chandler also owns Hilton Garden Inn, but he doesn't think the two properties will compete.
"There, business is fair to good," he said. "Bowling Green is not an Atlanta, but it is doing fine. This (TownePlace) won't be as nice as the Hilton ... so I don't see ourselves competing."
Meanwhile, Douglas Artusio said his property's manager, his son Adam Artusio, will arrive later this summer. He and a director of sales will open offices Aug. 1 on Lovers Lane, off the property because of the construction.
Adam Artusio is currently a general manager at a hotel in Chicago and has held several management positions with Marriott and Dellisart, Douglas Artusio's hotel development and management company.
"We are going to have a beautiful outdoor pool, gazebo, gas grills, a nice patio area and walk connection to the Knicely Center to make it convenient for guests," he said.
The property also will have Wi-Fi, an exercise facility, complimentary full hot breakfast and a manager's reception with food and beverage Tuesday through Thursday evenings.
Fitch said that when the two properties are complete, Bowling Green will be close to the number of rooms it can support. It has about 2,600 now.
"Since our occupancy is still around the 50 percent range, it doesn't appear that we need a lot more rooms," Fitch said. "When we have those two new ones enter (the picture) ... unless we are bringing more people into town, our occupancy numbers will fall."
The latest occupancy numbers from Smith Travel Research show the occupancy rate for April at 62.2 percent, an increase of 11.6 percent. The occupancy rate for the year is at 54.1 percent, a 10 percent increase. Still, Bowling Green is doing better than most of the cities it compares to in a multistate area, Fitch said.
"I used to have hoteliers tell me that we didn't need more rooms until our occupancy rate was in the 60 percent range. Whether that is still true or not, I don't know," Fitch said.
She added, though, that figure is for the market in general.
"I know these properties (under construction) did their own study of that extended-stay niche market," Fitch said.
As for how many motel rooms Bowling Green needs so the CVB can go after larger events, Fitch really couldn't say.
In addition to the number of rooms, activity space also plays an important role in determining whether an event can come here. Large soccer or ball tournaments may require multiple fields to be located in a central place, rather than having many spread out. Bowling Green has been able to concentrate many of those fields with recent improvements to parks.
"It really just depends on the events," she said.
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