|By Robyn L. Minor, Daily News, Bowling
Green, Ky.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Nov. 14, 2011--A Georgia developer will break ground this week for a Staybridge Suites on Campbell Lane, just off Nashville Road.
The 124-room extended stay property will be behind Walgreens and adjacent to Western Kentucky University parking that backs onto the Carroll Knicely Conference Center.
"Bowling Green is a strong and diverse community and it has fared better than many other secondary communities," Developer Douglas Artusio said of his decision to develop the property in Bowling Green.
Dellisart LLC will develop and manage the property for a family company, Well Spring Investment.
"The (major) owner, Ray Chen, also has another business in Bowling Green (an electronics parts store)," Artusio said. "So we are very familiar with the marketplace and this part of Bowling Green doesn't currently have hotel accommodations."
Dellisart, of which Artusio is president and CEO, manages six other Staybridge properties, and Artusio is on the board of its parent company, Intercontinental Hotels.
"I was very involved in the initial design of the Staybridge product," he said.
The property includes far larger rooms than any other hotel property in the area, with kitchens, complimentary guest laundry facilities and outdoor grills for guest use. It also will offer a full breakfast daily and three nights a week will have a hospitality program with beer and wine.
"It's a much more residential feel," he said.
The property could be used by people transferring into town who don't yet have a place to live, or people in town for business or conferences for multiple nights.
"Being next to the Knicely Center, we see an excellent opportunity for a partnership moving forward," Artusio said. "They can go after larger groups and we will have the hospitality for them."
WKU President Gary Ransdell said he was surprised to learn of the property breaking ground this week.
"We haven't had any communication with them," Ransdell said. "All of our focus is on Block 12 and we wouldn't want to do anything to detract from that."
Block 12, adjacent to the main campus, is where a parking garage, residential wrap and alumni center are currently under construction. The university recently advertised for requests for proposals to develop and operate a hotel.
Artusio said he is aware of WKU's plans for the block and is interested in talking to WKU about it.
"We would have to understand what their needs are and look at franchise flags available to determine the proper product and size of the hotel," he said. "We are anxious to consider that project as well."
The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce will have a groundbreaking ceremony for the project at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and Artusio expects contractor Meridian Design and Build of Deerfield, Ill., will begin work later this week. Opening is planned for Dec. 1, 2012.
Other developments along Nashville Road include construction of a convenience store at Dishman Lane. Contractor Greg Gary has started the grading work for the project, which will include a 5,000-square-foot store. Gary said he is working on the project for a local investor, whom he declined to identify. A name for the store is undecided but it will sell Exxon gas, he said. Work on the $580,000 project (according to a building permit) should be complete by February, he said.
WKU also has a project that should begin soon. It will move part of its WKU Store to the old Goodwill Building adjacent to South Campus on Nashville Road.
"With the renovation of Downing (University Center), we've got to relocate the functions of the bookstore that are in Downing," Ransdell said. "There is only so much unused space on campus."
Ransdell said the bookstore's functions will be split with books and other items needed directly by students and faculty being on campus, possibly in the Garrett Ballroom, and the retail merchandise being in the store adjacent to South Campus.
He expects the store to open sometime in the spring semester. The Downing renovation will have the bookstore on the main floor when complete and will begin the day after commencement, Ransdell said.
(c)2011 the Daily News (Bowling Green, Ky.)
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