Work resumes on stalled hotel project

Published 7:00 pm Friday, January 13, 2012

A stalled building project has lurched backto life with the renewal of construction on a hotel near Interstate55.

    Jackie’s International, Inc. obtained a building permit Dec. 6 torenew work on a proposed Holiday Inn Express located next to theLincoln Inn and Suites on Brookway Boulevard near exit 40.Construction efforts have moved forward intermittently sincethen.

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    Jackie’s Vice President Sunny Sethi said Thursday he hopesconstruction will be completed in May, with an opening date eyedsoon after.

    “Hopefully we will be open by the summer depending on the weather,which I can’t control,” Sethi said.

    City leaders welcome the news.

    “We’re glad to see that project moving,” said Mayor LesBumgarner.

    The concrete floors for the second and third levels have been laid,said city building inspector Chip Gennaro. The first floor slab andfoundation was laid during the original construction work.

    Metal studs and framing material are also on site. Sethi indicatedframing could begin in the next few weeks.

    Another issue the renewed construction must address is theretention pond located on site, Gennaro said.

    The presence of the slab and building prevent the lot fromabsorbing as much water as is did previously. The purpose of thepond is to prevent excess water from running off onto adjacentproperty.

    However, the retaining pond is supposed to let the water drain out,but the pond on site now is holding water until it evaporates.

    “They need to get it done as soon as possible,” Gennaro said of thepond.

    Bumgarner said he hopes further construction indicates an intent tofinally finish the project.

    “The more things they do, the more committed they are tofinishing,” Bumgarner said.

    Construction of the proposed hotel began in 2008 and stalled withina year, leaving a building frame that has stood on site since.

    Sethi has said the state of the economy made obtaining financing tofinish the project difficult. Recent economic recovery has openedup financial sources that weren’t there before, he said.

    The city also allowed Sethi to renew the building permit for onlythe remaining cost of the project.

    The 2008 permit was for an estimated $3 million project, and costJackie’s International $6,600.

    The board of aldermen heard a proposal last November to allowJackie’s International to renew its permit minus the amount of theproject already completed. The city consented and the permit wasrenewed at a cost of $2,500 for $1.25 million of construction.

    “I appreciate the city being understanding through the process,”Sethi said. “It’s a terrible economy and we’re all in ittogether.”