|By Andrew Neff, Bangor Daily News,
MaineMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 18, 2011--BANGOR, Maine -- Ground is broken and construction has begun on the newest hotel in the city as crews start prepping the grounds across from the Hilton Garden Inn on Haskell Road.
The dirt lot will give rise to a three-story, 113-room Hampton Inn over the next nine months.
"It'll generate another 60 jobs and is scheduled to open in May of 2012," said Ed Dennis, managing partner for AME Management Group, the parent company of both Hilton and Hampton Inn. "We also plan to reflag the old Hampton Inn [on Bangor Mall Boulevard] to a Comfort Inn after it undergoes major renovations."
The current Hampton Inn has 115 rooms while the Hilton Garden Inn has an 80-room capacity.
Bangor City Planner David Gould said the Hampton Inn received official approval in May and construction began the next month.
Gould said while the construction is great news for Bangor's economy and growth, he's not expecting a hotel-motel boom in the area.
"It's certainly not a bad sign, but the concept I have is this is still a very tight market," Gould said. "I think this is more a response to a number of rooms or facilities disappearing and a need to fill a niche."
The rooms Gould referred to were in the two hotels -- Holiday Inn and The Main Street Inn -- that were torn down on Main Street in 2006 to make room for the 152-room Hollywood Slots Hotel and Raceway.
Dennis said that regardless of the construction of Hollywood Slots, he thinks Bangor still would have grown, but much more slowly.
"I think over the last 20 years, Bangor's had steady, consistent growth due to its relative proximity to Canada and being located along a major transportation route," said Dennis. "Having I-95 go right through, Bangor International Airport here, and being a hub to all kinds of destinations like Bar Harbor and Baxter State Park and Acadia makes it an ideal destination."
The new 69,561-square-foot Hampton Inn will feature updated technology with wireless Internet, digital technology, HD flat-screen TVs in all rooms, a fitness center featuring the latest equipment, a small indoor pool and jacuzzi, a continental breakfast cafe, ergonomic furniture and "green" materials.
"When you look at the Bangor hotel market, many of them are around 30 to 40 years old so this will be a more cutting-edge facility for our business and leisure customers," Dennis said.
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Copyright (c) 2011, Bangor Daily News, Maine
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