|By Benita Heath, The Ironton Tribune,
OhioMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 6, 2009--SYBENE -- The drizzling weather didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the dignitaries present at the grand opening of Lawrence County's newest hotel.
Just before noon the Comfort Suites at Sybene, off U.S. 52, officially opened after a two-month soft opening that has already brought much guest traffic into the hotel.
"It was unpredictably nice," Hammond Patel, one of the facility's co-owners, said about the amount of business that has come in so far.
A joint venture by Junior Patel, Hammond Patel and Neil Patel, the Comfort Suites offers 61 suites on three floors, including rooms that are wheel-chair accessible. Three have built-in Jacuzzis. On the first floor is a swimming pool adjoining an exercise room that offers a treadmill, bicycle and multi-gym. Each suite has both wireless and wire Internet connections with two phones. There is also a guest laundry area as well as a breakfast room where continental meals will be served.
However, as congratulations went all round to the Patels and those in the county responsible for getting up and running the business that will provide 25 new jobs, officials were already looking to the future.
Adjacent to the Comfort Suites property is between 25 and 30 acres, currently owned by Fred L. Hayes and Danny Holschuh, area real estate entrepreneurs.
The county would like to see that acreage developed into an extensive strip mall, according to Dr. Bill Dingus, director of the Lawrence Economic Development Corp.
To accommodate that plan, the Patels granted the county a four-lane easement into the property.
Right now the county is in discussions with possible retailers for the proposed mall, that would be one of the larger retail ventures in the area, Dingus said.
"This is a dream and a vision," Hammond Patel told the audience gathered in the courtyard of the hotel. "This was basically a field of dirt, not a very exciting location. We have taken a bold step."
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