|By David Irvin, Montgomery Advertiser,
Ala.McClatchy-Tribune Business News
Jan. 24, 2007 -- From the edge of the south side Hyundai plant to the extreme eastern reaches of the city, Montgomery is getting plenty of new hotel rooms this year.
Currently, there are some 754 new hotel rooms under construction at seven sites across the city, a positive sign for the local economy, chamber officials said Tuesday.
More than 190 of these rooms are expected to be complete and ready for occupants by the end of March.
The only project expected to last into 2008 is the massive Renaissance Hotel project downtown, which includes some 347 rooms, a spa, performing arts center and an expanded convention show floor. Funded by the Retirement Systems of Alabama and the city, that project is considered a major catalyst to the current hotel building surge.
"When someone hears that you have someone like David Bronner (RSA and PCH Hotels) investing $150 million in downtown, it sparks interest," said Dawn Hathcock, vice president of the Montgomery Convention and Visitor Bureau. "People know it is going to be a first-class facility."
Gayle Toth is the new general manager of two new Hampton Inns under construction -- one in Hope Hull near the Hyundai facility and one in downtown Montgomery directly facing the new convention center project.
"I just think it's the right time. People are traveling more and I think they are doing it more by car," Toth said.
Toth said that the close proximity of the Hope Hull property to the airport will mean plenty of new business from business travelers to the Capital City.
Jay Patel is building a new Sleep Inn at Carmichael Road, slated to open by July. He already operates two hotels in Prattville, and despite high construction costs following Hurricane Katrina, he went ahead with the Montgomery project.
"We had some study done by a company -- they recommended that there was enough room ... in the market," Patel said.
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