|By David Brooks, The Telegraph, Nashua,
N.H.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Nov. 13, 2012--MERRIMACK -- More economic spillover from the Merrimack Premium Outlets and connecting road to Manchester airport goes public this week with the unveiling of a renovated hotel near Exit 11.
The former Fairfield Inn just off Continental Boulevard has been remade as a Holiday Inn Express, following a roughly $2 million renovation by Roedel Cos., of Wilton, a hotel management firm.
Roedel bought the Fairfield Inn in May 2011 and began an extensive renovation almost immediately. The new hotel, taking reservations as of Nov. 20, features 100 rooms -- down from the 115 rooms the Fairfield Inn held because some were combined to make suites -- a new lobby, an expanded business center and a fitness facility.
"This is essentially a brand-new hotel on good real estate, with improving conditions," said David Roedel, a partner in the firm. He noted that it will be the first hotel south of Manchester-Boston Regional Airport on the west side of the Merrimack River.
Like other competitors, notably Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express is targeted largely at business travelers.
When it was a Fairfield Inn, the discount brand for Marriott Hotels, the hotel depended heavily on business travelers related to large nearby firms such as Fidelity Investments and Anheuser-Busch; a manager once told The Telegraph that such customers made up 75 percent of his business.
But the nearby mall adds another attraction.
"The currently opened hotels have already been working out stay-and-shop deals with the outlets," said Town Council Chairman Tom Mahon. He said the mall has been drawing "a fair number of Canadians," attracted by lower tax rates and a favorable exchange rate.
Business travel remains vital.
The opening of the bridge and connecting road to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport makes Exit 11 more attractive to business travelers. The upcoming arrival of Atrium Medical Corp., which is moving its headquarters to a former Fidelity Investment property on nearby Continental Boulevard, should also increase the need for nearby hotels.
Holiday Inn Express is similar to Holiday Inn except that it lacks a restaurant and large meeting facilities; its focus is entirely on rooms.
While the area of Exit 11, roughly in the center of Merrimack on a north-south axis, has considerable retail and commercial space, development has sometimes been hit or miss.
Notable flops include a 2007 proposal to develop an indoor water park, which went nowhere, and the long-closed Radisson Conference Center on nearby Executive Park Road. Attempts to turn that building into another hotel or, more recently, into an assisted-living facility have not succeeded.
"As far as we know, nothing is going on there," Mahon said.
Roedel Cos., headquartered on Route 101A in Wilton, develops, owns and operates hotels around the east coast, including a LaQuinta Inn in Manchester and a Hampton Inn in Tilton.
(c)2012 The Telegraph (Nashua, N.H.)
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