Hotels going up around Cape Girardeau will add 282 rooms

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Construction is expected to begin as soon as weather permits on a new Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites on William Street, work that kicks off the first of two high-profile hotel projects this year that will add 282 more hotel rooms to Cape Girardeau by mid-2005.

The new 102-room Holiday Inn Express actually will replace the old Holiday Inn that was razed last year, though Midamerica Hotels Corp. president Dan Drury said in early February that the weather had slowed plans a bit.

"Weather right now has put us on the skids," Drury said after a snowfall. "But we knew that if we ran into a delay we could go straight through once spring hits. We're still hoping by the end of the year to be up and running."

Meanwhile, plans are also still on target for next year for the opening of a new 180-room Drury Inn & Suites to be built on the corner of Interstate 55 and Highway 74.

"At this point, we are still on track for a late-summer, early-fall start on the new hotel," said Eric Strand, vice president of sales and marketing for Drury Hotels. "Plans for our new prototype are close to being finalized."

Affected by other projectsOther projects in the works for other states could have an impact on the Cape Girardeau hotel start date, Strand said.

MidAmerica Hotels Corp., which is building the new Holiday Inn, is owned by Cape Girardeau resident Jim Drury. The new Drury Inn & Suites is being built by St. Louis-based Drury Inns Inc. and is owned by Jim Drury's brothers, Bob Drury, Charles Drury and Jerry Drury.

The two companies are not affiliated.

MidAmerica's plans call for the new Holiday Inn Express to be four stories tall and include restaurants in the surrounding space.

Dan Drury said the company is still talking with potential restaurant owners about locating there, though final plans for exactly which ones are not in place. He didn't know whether the restaurants would be open by the time the hotel is completed.

"It may come at the same time or later," he said. "I'd like for them to be up and running before, but who knows?"

The company has said there is enough room for as many as five new restaurants to be located around the hotel. Holiday Inn Express is a quick-growing brand in the hospitality industry with 1,200 hotels worldwide.

The new seven-story Drury Inn & Suites is being planned for a 7-acre tract at the southeast corner of Interstate 55 and Highway 74. The site also will include three new restaurants. Work is expected to begin on that hotel this summer.

The hotel will feature meeting space that will accommodate up to 400 people. The hotel will also have an indoor-outdoor swimming pool and whirlpool, exercise room and guest laundry facility.

The two hotels, when finished, will be a good addition to Cape Girardeau, especially as a marketing tool, said Convention and Visitors Bureau director Chuck Martin.

"It's coming at a good time as far as promoting the city," Martin said. "With the new River Campus project and the conservation campus projects and some other things, these rooms are going to be needed."

The $35.6 million River Campus project will be a school for the visual and performing arts on the site of a former Catholic seminary. Plans for the new nature center at Cape Girardeau County Park call for the facility to showcase indoor exhibits and provide interactive programs.

If there is something of a glut of rooms at first, Martin said, projects like these will draw people here and will create an eventual demand for the rooms.

smoyers@semissourian.com

335-6611

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