|By Don Dodson, The News-Gazette,
Champaign-Urbana, Ill.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
June 28, 2012--CHAMPAIGN _ An Iowa-based hotel company plans to open a 112-room Residence Inn by Marriott in Champaign next year.
Ravi Patel, vice president of Hawkeye Hotels, said he hopes the four-story hotel at the northwest corner of Marketview Drive and Moreland Boulevard will open about May 1, 2013.
Once the company nails down the last piece of financing, the plan is to start construction within 60 days and be open eight months later, Patel said Wednesday.
Residence Inn by Marriott is an extended-stay concept, where rooms are equipped with an in-suite kitchen, and guests get a hot daily breakfast, free grocery delivery, dry cleaning services and an on-site laundry.
Marriott already has hotel properties in the Champaign-Urbana area, including the Fairfield Inn & Suites at 1807 Moreland Blvd., C, and the Courtyard by Marriott at 1811 Moreland Blvd., C.
The Residence Inn, at 502 W. Marketview Drive, C, would be Hawkeye Hotels' only property in the Champaign-Urbana area, but the company operates more than two dozen hotels in 11 states. Hawkeye's brands include Hampton Inns, Fairfield Inns and Holiday Inns, among others.
Patel called Champaign "a historically strong and stable hotel market," but he said it doesn't have enough extended-stay properties.
"We were reviewing citywide numbers and sitting down with top franchises Hilton and Marriott, and we decided to go forward with the upscale extended-stay Residence Inn by Marriott," he said.
Patel said the Champaign hotel will follow a new prototype that has "a new urban feel to it."
Hawkeye Hotels has two Residence Inns under construction elsewhere, with one set to open in two weeks and the other just breaking ground, he said.
Marriott's website shows 17 Residence Inns in Illinois, with one each in Bloomington, Moline, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield and 12 in the Chicago metropolitan area.
At the Champaign hotel, guests staying one to five nights will likely pay $130 to $140 per night for rooms, Patel said. Those staying longer get progressively cheaper per-night rates, with different rate tiers for various lengths of stay.
The Champaign hotel is expected to employ 35 full- and part-time workers.
Patel said Hawkeye Hotels is a family-owned company. He said his father, Bob, purchased a shut-down motel in Mena, Ark., about 30 years ago, renovated it and delivered newspapers while his wife, Angie, ran the motel.
The family's first construction project was in Hannibal, Mo., and eventually the company became one of the first minority Marriott franchisees, he said.
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