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‘Suite’ deals in Ennis

Is local economy ready to support two new Ennis hotels?
Civic growth has been a constant local topic. And the number of hoteliers opening facilities here underscores the fact that Ennis is moving on and up.
I-45 travelers and visitors to the Bluebonnet City will soon have plenty of overnight stay options when Holiday Inn Express and La Quinta are completed. These new hotels complement smaller local hotels as well as the Comfort Suites that was built last year, Days Inn and the Quality Inn that’s been an important part of the Ennis community for a quarter of a century.
Yet, many are asking “Can Ennis support two more hotels?”
The forthcoming Holiday Inn Express is a four-story, 47,547-square-foot complex with 68 guest rooms. The hotel is slated to open in late September or early October.
La Quinta, shooting for an early 2009 grand opening, is a three-story, 36,810-square-foot facility with 67 rooms.
“I think it’s exciting we’re getting new hotels because you can look at it as more good things to come,” Chamber CEO Jeannette Patak said.
But Bryan Ozymy of Quality Inn doesn’t think all the new hotels are best for the city right now.
“My thought is we were probably due for a new hotel, which is where Comfort Suites came in, but that’s where I would draw the line,” Ozymy said.
“Two more new hotels are going to be too much inventory for the city. It is definitely good to have a new hotel for upper-end markets, but how many do you need? Comfort Suites is a beautiful hotel. Why do you need a Holiday Inn Express and La Quinta?”
Ozymy said his views aren’t just sour grapes that major new hotels are making their way into the Ennis community. He sees competition as a positive, but from a business perspective it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.
“Neither Comfort Suites nor Quality Inn is running at full capacity,” Ozymy said. “There is just not enough demand for another 140 rooms. Competition is always good, but over inventory is not.”
Patak said having more hotels could bring more events to Ennis, adding to special weekend events like the Polka Festival, the Bluebonnet Fest and Motorplex when local hotels do fill to capacity.
She added it would keep people in the city when these large events take place, rather than having to stay in Waxahachie. It is about convenience for local events, which would create a domino effect for Ennis restaurants and other businesses.
“I have been told people, companies and retailers do look at the accommodations a town has,” Patak said. “And they definitely look to see if the hotels are keeping people in town.”
“I’m very happy (the hotels are) coming in because of the brands,” Ennis Tourism Director Gina Rokas said.
“What I’m most excited about is we will capture people in Ennis. They won’t go to Waxahachie. The money will stay in Ennis.”
Ozymy said major tourism attractions in Ennis now fill the Quality Inn for about 15 nights a year.
City Manager Steve Howerton said investors apparently felt hotels in Ennis were necessary, or their financial backing wouldn’t have been offered.
According to Howerton, one reason for planting new hotels along I-45 is that the highway sees a total of 42,000 cars a day enter the city limits, with many bringing in potential overnight travelers.
Ennis is also the first city south of Dallas with a diversity of restaurants, including fast food chains, that draw visitors. Howerton said the quality of the community and its potential for growth is another reason for the recent hotel developments.
“Investors know Ennis is going to grow in the next 10 years,” Howerton said.

Matt Cook is a staff writer and the web editor for the Ennis Daily News. He can be reached at matt@ennisdailynews.com.

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Posted by on Jul 25 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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