First Rivercane lot scheduled to close Nov. 19

Published 12:58 pm Wednesday, October 31, 2007

By By Adam Prestridge
Pending an unforeseen delay, Vision Hospitality southeastern regional director John Tampa will make his investment into Atmore official in next month.
Members of the Atmore Industrial Development Board announced last Thursday during its monthly meeting that a date had been set for Tampa to ink his name on the contract for a parcel of land in Rivercane to build one of two hotels.
"It appears that we have everything in order for our first tenant at Rivercane to be finalized on Nov. 19," Atmore mayor Howard Shell said.
Tampa was on hand during the announcement of Rivercane in May 2006 and has remained committed to the development from day one.
"Every project has its own problems, especially one of this magnitude, it's normal," Tampa said via cell phone Tuesday afternoon. "In Atmore, there are good people and I want to be over there."
According to Tampa, his plans have not altered much since his announcement 17 months ago.
The first hotel to be constructed by Tampa will be a three-story, 80-unit Comfort Suites, which will include suite rooms, an outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi suites. The mid-scale property will cost approximately $4.5 million to construct and is slated to begin construction in late November, according to Tampa. Tampa said construction of the Comfort Suites should be completed in seven to eight months, weather permitting.
"We are excited," Tampa said. "It's going to be the newest hotel in Atmore and we are looking to break ground the end of November and open sometime in the summer 2008."
Tampa plans to move quickly. He said equipment should be onsite two weeks after signing the contract.
"I believe that there is the opportunity for a big development because of the way the city is approaching the development," Tampa said.
Tampa will also be building an 80-room Hampton Inn &Suites by Hilton adjacent to the Comfort Suites property. Construction of it will cost a little more than $5 million.
"Hampton Inn is the best product right now in mid-scale hotels," Tampa said.
It is unsure when Tampa will close on the property the Hampton Inn &Suites will occupy.
"When lot four closes (Comfort Suites), it starts the clock ticking on lot five (Hampton Inn &Suites) and it will close in a year, if not sooner," Rivercane project manager Joe Webb said.
As for the benefit for local businesses, Tampa said during his initial announcement that he will attempt to keep as much of the subcontracting in Atmore.
"We're going to use any local vendors we can to make a good relation," Tampa said in a previous interview. "We feel that the city has given us the opportunity, so we need to give back."
Both hotels will employee between 15-20 people.

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