Hampton breaks ground

Published 10:01 am Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Those on hand during the Hampton Inn groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning included, from left, IDB member Shep Marsh, councilman Webb Nall, IDB member Peggie Byrd, councilman Chris Walker, Rivercane Project Manager Joe Webb, Mayor Howard Shell, Chamber Director Sheryl Vickery, councilman John Garrard, developer Chester Lamb, realtor Debbie Rowell, Escambia County Industrial Development Board Director Marshall Rogers, councilman Jim Staff, hotel developers Dipan Patel and Raman Patel and project manager Aaron Kaehr.|Photo by Adam Prestridge

Amid the sound of bulldozers moving dirt for its foundation, a groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday at the site of the new four-story Hampton Inn at the city’s Rivercane development.

According to Land Star Construction’s Aaron Kaehr, who is serving as the general contractor for the hotel, it will take approximately eight months to construct. If the construction stays on schedule, the 81-room hotel could be open as early as November, he said.

“We started last week,” Kaehr said. “We are working on the storm sewer and site utilities right now. We are going to start the foundation next week, but it will be about three weeks before we start pouring any concrete. We will not start framing until the first of June.”

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The dirt work has been subcontracted out to Lamb Dozer Service of Atmore, according to Kaehr.

The property was purchased more than two years ago by hotel investors Raman and Savita Patel for $884,000, according to Southern Real Estate’s Debbie Rowell who represented the buyers. 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 couple’s son, Dipan Patel, owner and partner of Key Hotels, said that it is nice to have construction finally begin.

“It’s great,” he said. “We were initially scheduled to break ground about six to eight months ago, but were delayed due to financing. It feels good to finally get going.”

The hotel, which will require more than 30 employees to operate, will feature meeting rooms and a swimming pool as well as offer shuttle service for customers once operational.

“We believe bringing the Hampton Inn flag to Atmore and the surrounding areas, which was lacking in this market, will be the main thing going for us,” Dipan Patel said.

Construction cost for the new Hampton Inn including the purchase of land will be approximately $6 million, according to Patel.

Once the Hampton Inn opens, it is expected to contribute greatly to the city’s tax base.

McDonald’s is also scheduled to begin construction soon next to Hampton Inn at Rivercane.