Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Comfort Inn underway in Marion

It's not been announced, no story in the paper, not even a building permit on file yet with the city, but there's a second new hotel coming to Marion, and this time it's a Comfort Inn.

The proof is in the mail, or at least on the outside of the mailbox at 2403 Black Diamond Drive, between Sao's Asian Bistro and Black Diamond Harley-Davidson's warehouse as seen in the background of the photo.

A number of people have known about this for sometime as it's been in the works now for four years. It was one of three new lodging establishments under development when I was at Williamson County Tourism, but after Country Inn & Suites opened and the recession hit, everyone went quiet for a while.

Now that we have a Holiday Inn Express under construction and currently up to its second floor, it's apparently time for the new Comfort Inn to make the big leap from simply being proposed, to actually becoming a reality.

From the way it looked Friday before the rain site prep must have just started this past week. No building permit was on file as of Thursday or so at City Hall, which isn't that much out of the ordinary. The big apartment complex underway on Russell Street south of St. Joseph's Catholic Church didn't have a permit either even though they've cut down the trees and are getting ready to lay waterlines this week.

The 2.36 acre lot for the hotel sold four years ago on Dec. 14, 2007, for $346,250, or $3.37 a square foot (down from the $8.45/sq.ft. asking price). It includes 286 feet of road frontage and runs 359 feet deep. On the east side a lake divides this property from the Fairfield Inn on top of The Hill.

The Comfort Inn brand is part of Choice Hotels International which franchises more than 6,100 hotels around the world. At the end of June they had 450 hotels under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States. Other brands include Comfort Suites, Quality Inn and Econo Lodge which are already represented in Marion. The original Comfort Inn in Marion is now the Quality Inn.

Choice Hotels hold the second largest market share of all chains, behind only Wyndham.

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