|By Bill Brewer, The Knoxville News
Sentinel, Tenn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jul. 30, 2009--Value Place, an extended stay lodging chain headquartered in Wichita, Kan., is officially opening today the first of five hotels it plans for the Knoxville area by 2012.
The company's 150th location is in Louisville at 4412 Singleton Station Road, which will be owned and operated by Evan Carzis and Bill Davidson.
Carzis, an architect and real estate developer, and Davidson, a former principal with Foodtown Supermarkets and founder of Pet Food Giant, own warehouses in Knoxville among industrial properties across the country. They are based in the New York area.
Gina-Lynne Smith, franchise services president for Value Place, said investment in the Knoxville market will be $4 million to $5 million per location.
Smith said company officials will be meeting today in Knoxville with potential investors looking at purchasing Value Place franchises.
"Many of our customers are business travelers, but typically our brand is for anyone who pays for lodging out of pocket. We are appealing to housing transitioners -- people in transition who are relocating to a new city ahead of their families," Smith said.
The average stay at a Value Place location is 60 to 90 days, with a minimum week's stay required, according to Smith, who noted that the cost for Value Place lodging in the Knoxville market is about $179. Value Place prices range across the country from $149 to $299 a week depending on the market.
Gina McKee, vice president of franchise development for Value Place, said the company is looking to locate franchises in U.S. markets similar to Wichita.
"Knoxville has a lot of growth and development and we believe Knoxville has a need for the market niche we provide," McKee said.
The Value Place franchise brand was founded by Jack DeBoer and launched in 2004. DeBoer also founded the Residence Inn, Summerfield Suites and Candlewood Suites brands. Marriott acquired Residence Inn, Hyatt acquired Summerfield Suites and Candlewood was bought by InterContinental Hotels Group.
"This is our fourth brand. We are clean and safe and low-cost," Smith said.
Value Place has hotels in 26 states and expects to end 2009 with 170 locations.
Carzis and Davidson expects consumers to embrace the new brand in Knoxville.
"We liked Value Place immediately because it fit perfectly with our backgrounds but also because it was a business addressing an underserved niche," Davidson said. "While most extended stay chains focus on higher price points and business clients with expense accounts, Value Place focuses on the guests that are picking up the tab themselves. It made a lot of sense to us," Davidson said in a statement.
Business editor Bill Brewer may be reached at 865-342-6319.
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