Courtesy of Frank Mapel
Courtesy of Frank Mapel
The Durango economy is looking up, and a new hotel will be built in Bodo Industrial Park to help accommodate a rising number of tourists.
A Homewood Suites hotel by Hilton will go up in front of Durango Coca Cola Bottling Co. The three-story hotel will have 78 rooms with an average room size of 470 square feet, well above the average for lodges. Each room will have a full kitchen, and the hotel also will have a business center and a meeting room that can hold up to 60 people.
Frank Mapel, owner of the hotel, said he hopes to break ground this summer and open by summer 2013.
“We’ve been looking at this for quite some time now, and the one thing about Durango is that it has a lot of hotels, but it has a lot of old hotels – so we thought there was an opportunity here,” Mapel said. “This is a different type of product where it offers the suite concept. We think it will create jobs, and we hope it does.”
Mapel was born and raised in Durango, and his grandfather ran the Durango Coca-Cola Bottling Co. franchise in the 1950s, and it is still in the family.
John Cohen, executive director of the Durango Area Tourism Office, said Durango needs more hotels.
“We’re not there yet, but we’re certainly seeing some nice growth and sharp spikes in advance bookings,” he said.
Durango hotels frequently reach capacity when there are big events in town, such as last weekend’s Soccer Shootout, which brought more than 2,000 junior soccer players and their families to town.
The Durango City Council suspended ordinances on vacation rentals to better accommodate the 20,000 to 25,000 visitors expected in August for the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
Mapel said he is deciding between two banks to finance the hotel: First National Bank of Durango and Bank of Colorado.
Durango is starting to see more growth south of downtown, and the hotel will complement that growth, said Jack Llewellyn, executive director of Durango Chamber of Commerce.
“Being on that side of town could draw more traffic. And travelers coming in from the south might come in and see the hotel and just stop there,” Llewellyn said. “We’re seeing a growth pattern happening in that area.”
The Homewood Suites won’t be Durango’s only addition. A four-story, 116-room Holiday Inn will be built near Tech Center Drive at the former Cottonwood Camper Park site.
Mapel hired Jim Heumann of HHC Hotels – a hotel-management company based in Kansas City, Mo. – to manage the lodge. He will be in charge of hiring and training staff members.
The hotel will employ about 25 full-time employees.
“We’ll predominantly look to Durango (for staff members),” Heumann said. “We prefer to hire locally.”
Mapel and Heumann are interviewing general managers for the hotel now and have three finalists, two of whom are locals.
Heumann said he does not have salaries for the employees yet, but they will be “competitive.”