Plans for a five-story, $7 million hotel attached to Kennewick's Three Rivers Convention Center are moving ahead.
The city recently issued a building permit for SpringHill Suites by Marriott to Vijay Patel, president of A-1 Hospitality of Kennewick.
Patel said he just needs final approvals from Marriott before selecting a builder for a 122-room hotel near the Toyota Center and Columbia Center Boulevard.
Once that's in hand, "I won't just go ahead, I'll be running," he said.
The connection between the 74,000-square-foot hotel and the convention center is key to attracting and retaining business for the convention center, officials say.
"One of the most frequent comments we hear from convention meeting planners is that they want a convention hotel adjacent to the Three Rivers Convention Center," said Kris Watkins, president and CEO of the Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau. "The addition of the SpringHill Suites is a positive development that will assist in our efforts to secure new conventions and increase visitor spending in the Tri-Cities."
Patel agreed, saying the addition of his hotel will help bring more events to the Tri-Cities and, in turn, help other businesses by bringing people who will go to restaurants and shop in the area.
A-1 Hospitality, which already owns two hotels in the Tri-Cities, has an excellent reputation in the Northwest, Watkins said. They provide excellent customer service and support efforts to market the Tri-Cities as a tourist location.
Patel owns the Holiday Inn Express next to TRAC in Pasco and the Fairfield Inn by Marriott in Kennewick.
Kennewick Mayor Steve Young said the hotel isn't as large as some conventions would like but it's being built in a way that it can be expanded.
He said they hope to be able to draw even more conferences if Kennewick voters approve a one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax increase in November to expand the Three Rivers Convention Center.
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