Hampton Inn back on track

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More than two years after purchasing a nearly $1 million parcel of property in the Rivercane development, hotel investors Raman and Savita Patel are preparing to break ground on a four-story Hampton Inn & Suites later this month.

Atmore Mayor Howard Shell announced Monday that he had received a letter from the couple’s son, Dipan Patel, giving him an update on the development.

“Hampton Inn had run into some difficulties with the economy,” Shell said during Monday’s council meeting. “They sent me an email updating me today.”

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The contents of the email were music to Shell’s ear.

“I am pleased to update you on the progress of our Hampton Inn in Atmore,” Patel wrote. “Just this week, we closed our loan and are ready to begin construction.”

The Patels sealed the deal on just over two acres in Rivercane, the city’s 643-acre commercial development project at I-65, in October 2008. Saad & Vallas Realty Group was the listing agent for the property, which is located on the west side of Hwy. 21 south of the Muskogee Inn. The property sold for $884,000, according to Southern Real Estate’s Debbie Rowell who represented the buyer. The selling price breaks out to be $10 per square foot.

The decline in the economy slowed the construction process down tremendously, but according to the letter, the Patels “expect” to start construction on March 15 and open the 81-room hotel by the end of the year. The hotel, which will require more than 30 employees to operate, will also feature meeting rooms and a swimming pool and offer shuttle service once operational.

The City of Atmore recently increased its lodging tax two pennies from 8 cents to 10 cents on the dollar. The city earned $266,418.56 in lodging tax last fiscal year and has already earned $91,484.45 thanks in part to the success of Holiday Inn Express located in Rivercane. Once the Hampton Inn opens, it is expected to contribute greatly to the city’s tax base as city and Atmore Industrial Development officials continue to recruit businesses to locate in the development, which has a more than $16 million debt service.

The Patels were unavailable for comment.