Wednesday, April 17, 2013
New Hotels For Marion, Mount Vernon
Recently in Marion, they turned over part of their land for the new Panera's and was in negotiation with America's Best Inns to buy and demolish that property for another well-known chain restaurant. That deal did not materialize.
Now they've placed three acres up for sale located behind their hotel and Panera's that fronts 17th Street (Morgan Ave.), and it looks like there's another developer eyeing it for a new hotel and apartments that would cater to professionals and workers who need longer-term stays.
As of last week no building permits had been issued with the city.
Drury's three acres would make a good fit for such a development. There are nine restuarants in that block or just across the streets that surround it, as well as a liquor store. Gold's Gym is just a short walk away as is Rent One Park up on The Hill.
Meanwhile work progresses in Mount Vernon for Drury Inn's new $22 million development on the northeast side of the main interstate interchange. Drury has knocked down its long-time three-story inn, a gas station next door, and as of late last month when the picture below was taken, was in the process of knocking down the Thrifty Inn and the former Best Western Inn, which had been closed for years.
The old Best Western hotel was one of the two original major hotels in Mount Vernon after the opening of Interstate 57. Ralph Gray, brother of U.S. Rep. Ken Gray, and developer of the Gray Plaza motel chain, built the hotel in 1967-68 as a 101-room Ramada Inn.
Gray announced the $1.1 million project at the time he opened his new Ramada Inn in Marion. Both hotels were designed to be identical. While the Mount Vernon languished in recent decades hidden behind a row of pine trees planted on the Thrifty Inn property, the Marion hotel has survived as a budget motel under a variety of franchises.
The hotels originally included a cocktail lounge, coffee shop and a banquet room large enough for 150 people. An ornate curved staircase to the a second floor was a major feature in the lobbies. Each guest room included "piped-in-music, color television and air conditioning" and were "decorated in three color schemes, gold, green and blue," according to an article in the July 23, 1967, edition of the Southern Illinoisan.