New business joins Rivercane

Published 8:32 pm Monday, October 22, 2012

City officials gathered Monday morning at the site of what will be the next business to join the Rivercane development site.

Atmore’s Rivercane development project officially gained a new member Monday as city officials welcomed Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott to the list of participating businesses.

“We’re excited to have them join us,” Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said Monday morning.

Shell said the new, 79-room hotel is scheduled to break ground just after the first of the year, with a completion date set for spring of 2013.

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The new hotel will be constructed adjacent to the Holiday Inn Express currently in operation at Rivercane, making it the seventh business and third hotel to join the development site.

Shell said one of the most exciting repercussions of Fairfield Inn and Suites joining Rivercane is that the new business will make the site fiscally self reliant.

“Today, we announced a new hotel for Rivercane,” Shell said. “We’re right on the cusp of being able to service our debt. We are $16 million is debt after Riercane. That entire debt is now being serviced by Rivercane. This will allow us to do some things we haven’t been able to do in a long time.”

But are three hotels out of a pool of seven businesses really needed? Industrial Development Board Chairman Richard Maxwell says yes. And the reason, he says, is simple.

“The market right now is determining what we need,” Maxwell said. “We don’t go out necessarily and seek hotels. If hotel owners determine there is a need for a hotel there then they locate to it.”

Maxwell said the hotel industry in Atmore has actually turned into a huge revenue boost for the city.

“It’s thirty or forty jobs,” he said. “Their probably the highest revenue producer for the city of every business out there. If a motel owner determines through his market research that there’s room for another motel out there, then that’s why there’s another motel.”

Maxwell said it all comes down to what is best for the city of Atmore.

“This is about revenue for the city and these are big revenue producers,” he said. “So they produce revenue for the city and the city can provide other services. Everything comes back to the benefit of the citizens.”

Rivercane now consists of the newly-announced Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott, Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn, McDonalds, Hardees, Waffle House and the soon to be constructed Sizemore Creek bottling facility.

IDB officials said other possible additions are in the works.