|By Tim Bryant, St. Louis
Post-DispatchMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Sept. 28, 2012--BRENTWOOD -- Preparations are underway to build an eight-story, 210-room Drury hotel on what had been a highway equipment storage lot on Brentwood Boulevard at Interstate 64.
The $35.5 million Drury Inn & Suites hotel will include a restaurant in a separate building on the nearly 4-acre site, officials said. Site work is scheduled to begin in October, followed next spring by 12 to 15 months of construction.
"We are very happy to be part of the city of Brentwood," said Chuck Drury, president and chief executive of Drury Hotels. "As a St. Louis-based company, we are grateful for the opportunity to expand our presence in the area and we look forward to providing travelers with a clean, comfortable, friendly place to stay."
Drury Development Corp. -- the hotel company's development arm -- and other developers had eyed for more than a decade the southeast corner of Brentwood and Eager Road, just south of I-64.
Disagreements over the site's market value delayed redevelopment. In addition, the Missouri Department of Transportation, former owner of most of what is now the hotel site, needed the property as a storage lot and staging area for the I-64 reconstruction project, completed in late 2009.
Nearly two years after MoDOT completed the I-64 project, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approved sale of 3.53 acres on Eager Road to Drury for $4.5 million. An appraisal had valued the property at $4.15 million, state officials said when the sale was approved a year ago.
Drury said this week it completed the purchase of the MoDOT property, plus adjoining parcels that held a bridal shop and two small office buildings, this summer.
Mayor Pat Kelly said the hotel will produce about 50 permanent jobs, 120,000 hours of construction work and will fill out the intersection of Brentwood and Eager Road. The city is assisting the project with $5.75 million through a transportation development district and tax abatement.
"We're very excited the project is finally coming together," the mayor said. "The reason it took so long is that MoDOT owned the property, listed it twice, then removed it" from the market.
A final bit of the project's preparation is getting St. Louis County's approval to add an intersection on heavily traveled Eager Road between Brentwood and ramps connected to Interstate 170.
An unsignaled intersection serving the hotel will be 200 feet east of Brentwood, said David Wrone, spokesman for the county's Department of Highways and Traffic. Approval will be final once Drury submits some more paperwork, he said.
The Brentwood Drury will join about 130 hotels in a 20-state chain that completed its first hotel in Sikeston, Mo., in the early 1970s. The company already has 23 St. Louis-area hotels under the Drury Plaza, Drury Inn, Drury Inn & Suites or Pear Tree Inn flags.
A Hilton Homewood Suites hotel, in Richmond Heights about a half mile north of the Drury site, is among the few hotels in the mid-county area. Gary Andreas, owner of H&H Financial Group Inc., a hotel consulting firm, said the new Drury in Brentwood will benefit from being close to I-64.
He said the St. Louis area's hotel business is "steadily improving" but he questioned the planned size of Drury's Brentwood hotel.
"I think you have to scratch your head to see if we need 210 hotel rooms there," Andreas said. "You have to hope the need is there when they are completed."
But Andreas added that the mid-county area can use "a good quality but not real expensive" hotel.
(c)2012 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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