New hotel plans to open in fall
By COREY DAVIS
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
A new $12 million hotel being built in Rocky Mount close to Interstate 95 and U.S. 64 is slated to open in November.
Bharat Patel, owner of Homewood Suites by Hilton, said the 80,000-square-foot hotel will open by Thanksgiving weekend. The outside construction of the hotel is completed, Patel said. Crews are now hanging drywall in the hotel and next will start putting in wall paper and painting, Patel added.
“You have people coming in for the holidays around that time to see family, and hopefully people not having room to stay with family can come and stay in our hotel,” Patel said.
The hotel is going to be located off Curtis Ellis Drive behind the closed Gateway Covention Centre. Patel said the hotel will have 93 suites,which consist of one or two-bedrooms, outdoor fire pit, grill area on the back patio, 800-square-foot outdoor pool and more than 100 parking spaces.
Most Homewood Suites by Hilton are independently owned and operated by franchisees. The chain consists of more than 350 hotels in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
“This is a top brand coming to Rocky Mount, and we should do really good because we’re in a great location,” Patel said.
Hiring for the new Homewood Suites by Hilton will begin in October, with expectations to hire between 20 to 22 people, Patel said.
“I wanted to do something for my hometown,” Patel said. “This means more jobs for Rocky Mount and getting people back to work. Also, there some good things developing or coming to Rocky Mount.”
Mayor David Combs said the new Homewood Suites by Hilton will certainly help alleviate the shortage of hotel rooms in the area. The Rocky Mount Sports Complex on 600 Independence Drive has proven successful with youth baseball and soccer tournaments drawing outside people to the area. In 2015, the Sports Complex attracted 92,000 tournament visitors. But sometimes people are having to go out of the area to find somewhere to stay overnight, Combs said.
Rocky Mount over the years also has been a central location for many family reunions throughout the year, which generates a lot of traffic and hotel accomodations for people, Combs added.
“We don’t have enough hotels in the area right now, and certainly this new hotel being constructed is going to be a huge benefit,” Combs said. “The fact is we have a lot of tourism in the area with people traveling up I-95 and U.S. 64, but also because of the Sports Complex, that brings in so many people in the town. Realistically, that hotel will be geared toward that. A lot of times, when the other hotels are booked, people have to stay in Wilson, Roanoke Rapids or somewhere else beside Rocky Mount.”
Projects like the new Homewood Suites by Hilton are also beneficial for the tax base, Combs said. Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott at 187 Wellspring Drive is another hotel coming to the area off the highway, but owner Katan Patel said the project has been temporarily delayed.
Combs said the new Rocky Mount Lidl grocery store will be part of the Germany-based supermarket chain’s first stores in the United States opening up Thursday. A new upscale assisted living facility is also in the early stages of being built on Halifax Road, Combs added.
“The larger our tax base can get hopefully with new development that means our tax rate can stay low,” Combs said.