Back On Track

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, August 2, 2012

Construction on a Brookway Boulevard hotel has continued throughout the sizzling summer, and the developer is eyeing an opening near the end of the year.

     “We’re looking somewhere in October right now,” said Sunny Sethi, a Jackie’s International vice president. The company began construction on a hotel on the site in summer 2008.

     However, Sethi allowed that October may be a little optimistic.

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     “October is going to be a little tight but it will be this year for sure,” he said.

     The 79-room hotel is still slated to be a Holiday Express with a combination of regular and suite-style rooms, Sethi said.

     Jackie’s International also owns the neighboring Lincoln Inn and Suites but Sethi said there are currently no plans to do anything different with it. He said the company will wait to see how the Holiday Inn does before any decisions about possible changes to the Lincoln Inn are made.

     The project has sparked back to life following a lengthy hiatus. Construction initially began in 2008 but stalled later that year.

     The city issued a renewed building permit for the project last December. City Building Inspector Chip Gennaro said that permit will remain valid unless work were to cease on the project again.

     A city ordinance says the building permit may be revoked after 90 days of inactivity, but Gennaro said he usually issues a warning at that point and waits for a little more time before revoking the permit.

     A problem does remain with a faulty retention pond on the construction site. The pond is question is holding water, but not allowing it to drain as it should.

     Gennaro said he’s been assured the retention pond will be dealt with once the building is completed.

     “That’s the first thing they’re supposed to do when they start grading around the building,” Gennaro said.

     Local chamber of commerce director Cliff Brumfield is glad to see an end in sight for the project.

     “Having any empty structure can be thought of as an eyesore,” Brumfield said.

     The building’s prominent location near the interstate and on a major entryway into the city also made the project’s lengthy hiatus problematic, Brumfield.

     However, the economy has been particularly difficult for new construction, he added.

     “In light of the economy, it can be impossible to pump funds into a project,” Brumfield said.

     Another hotel will have bring several distinct positives to the area.

     “The facility will add to our tax base and create jobs,” Brumfield said.

     Having a national hotel chain located directly next to the interstate will also help entice travelers into the city, he said.

     Brumfield also pointed out that travelers who stay in a hotel will spend money elsewhere in the community, including restaurants and gas stations.