|By Michael D. Pitman, Dayton Daily News,
OhioMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 29, 2013--MIDDLETOWN -- The new 87-room Hampton Inn set to open Thursday is more than a new Middletown business; it's another sign of the city's continuing economic recovery, city officials say.
The new four-story hotel at 2880 Towne Place Boulevard will bring in 40 new jobs -- 30 of which will be full-time -- and an estimated $10,000 in additional lodging taxes to Middletown.
The demand for hotel rooms in the Dayton and Cincinnati area is growing as the number of business travelers has increased, said Matt MacLaren, executive director of the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association. And hotels in the area -- including the new Hampton Inn -- will likely get a boost from the new racino (which won't have a hotel attached) set to open just off Interstate 75 in Turtlecreek Twp. in spring 2014.
That's why city economic development officials believe Middletown -- already home to a dozen hotels -- is perfectly positioned as Cincinnati and Dayton grow toward one another.
"I think it's a good show of confidence in the area," Middletown Economic Development Director Denise Hamet said of the hotel opening. "We're seeing signs of the economic recovery in all sectors. We're seeing new homes selling, we're seeing several new businesses expand or open up in the industrial sector, and we're seeing new businesses expand or open in the retail sector."
Hampton Inn is owned by Kreesh Hospitality and will be managed by KB Hotel Group.
While the hotel will contribute to the lodging tax collections, its economic impact will be felt by surrounding businesses as well, said Chris Ott, KB Hotel Group director of operations.
"If there is a soccer tournament in town, if they go to Walmart, if they go to Burger King, the trickle-down dollars from the hotel business, the studies I've seen, trickles down like nine times on a traveler that comes out of town," he said.
Neil Patel, general counsel and son of the hotel's owner, said the city's location is ideal because it is at the center of the region's two largest cities: Cincinnati and Dayton.
"We see the possibilities of being able to do well here," he said.
Hotels pay a collective 12.5 percent state, county and local lodging taxes. The city collects about 3 percent of those taxes. According to the city's budget, lodging taxes generate about $200,000 a year in annual revenue and that money is designated for civic development purposes.
The city will see an estimated $10,000 increase in the lodging taxes from the Hampton Inn. Ohio mandates the city provide some of that money to the Middletown Convention and Visitor's Bureau, which uses most of it "to promote our city," according to the budget.
Middletown CVB president Linda Moorman said Hampton means more options for visitors to the city.
"Middletown is the best place for the business or leisure traveler to stay," she said. "The opening of the new Hampton Inn is exciting for Middletown as it shows growth within our community with the demand for a new hotel for more visitors to stay. A new brand brings new opportunities for the visitor to experience our community."
Moorman said this is the city's first new hotel since the Drury Inn opened in 2007.
The new hotel is also supported by data that says the lodging industry, as well as tourism, has been strong since 2012, MacLaren said.
Occupancy rates in Ohio grew 4.8 percent in 2012 and is up 2.4 percent so far this year, he said. Hotel business has increased by 8.7 percent in April 2013 over April 2012, and 4 percent in the first four months of this year over the first four months of last year.
Basically, the economy is getting better and "you're seeing more people out there working and needing hotel rooms," MacLaren said.
"The demand for hotel rooms has been increasing, but because financing was so difficult to achieve (during the recession), you weren't seeing many hotels being built," he said.
There are 1,350 hotels in Ohio today, which is seven more over 2012 and 19 more over 2007.
The Hampton Inn is the hotel group's ninth hotel in Ohio and Indiana. The 10th will be the Hilton Gardens being built in West Chester Twp., south of Middletown.
A grand opening invitation-only celebration is scheduled for June 10.
(c)2013 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)
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