|By Kenneth Knight, Tampa Tribune,
Fla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Feb. 15, 2013 --NEW TAMPA
The area's first hotel is undergoing a $1 million renovation and name change as part of a sale to a Tampa-based company.
Inspire Hotels plans to run the former Wingate by Wyndham Tampa North at 17301 Dona Michelle Drive as a La Quinta Inn & Suites.
The 84-room inn opened in August 1999 as the area's premier hotel near the Bruce B. Downs Boulevard/Interstate 75 interchange.
GSNP Florida LLC, a family-based business in Tampa, bought the bank-owned hotel in January for $3.1 million. The sale was financed by Central Bank.
The new La Quinta Inn & Suites Tampa North will be managed by Inspire Hotels, an affiliate of GSNP Florida. Inspire Hotels is a hotel management, investment and development company headquartered in the Westshore Business District.
"We are doing a $1 million renovation to completely transform the hotel to a modern prototype," said Dave Patel, managing partner of Inspire Hotels. "It will be the newest renovated property on the (Bruce B. Downs Boulevard) corridor.
"When the project is completed, it will almost be like walking into a brand new hotel."
New signage has been installed on the exterior of the freshly painted hotel building and on the property grounds.
Other parts of the hotel makeover will include major cosmetic changes to the first-floor lobby and breakfast area. The owners plan to gut the 84 guestrooms and redesign them to resemble La Quinta's new modern living style being rolled out by the company nationwide.
An on-site Enterprise Rental Car office will be moved to a more prominent space inside the hotel lobby.
Patel sees the renovation project as a sign of economic recovery in the Tampa area, he said. It also marks another positive step for the thriving New Tampa business community.
"The first thing we did when we acquired the hotel a couple of weeks ago was (to) connect with the local businesses to see how we could meet their needs," Patel said in a statement.
"We believe that committing to this renovation and creating new rooms designed to offer business travelers more of the comforts of home is a great way to welcome people to our newly renovated gateway to New Tampa and Wesley Chapel."
La Quinta guests typically are a mix of business travelers and leisure travelers who spend several nights at the hotel, Inspire Hotels marketing director Ronak Ganatra said.
With the addition of the La Quinta on Dona Michelle Drive, Inspire Hotels now operates six hotels in the Tampa area.
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