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Monday, Sept. 21, 2020

Two Hotels, One Building

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Dual-hotel concept coming to 70th Street

It is expected that sometime next summer, visitors to Shreveport-Bossier City will have two new hotels from which to choose – both in the same building.

SpringHill Suites and TownePlace Suites will share the six floors – and a single-floor lobby, restaurant and meeting space – of what was the old Wyndham Garden Hotel on Shreveport’s 70th Street.

This will be the second dual-hotel property in the market. Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites have been open in Bossier – in the same building – since 2012.

“It’s a nice concept that started seven or eight years ago, and has worked well in certain markets,” said Larry Williams, president of Orchid Global Hotels. That is the Frisco, Texas-based company that will manage the Shreveport property.

“The neat thing about it is the one brand, TownePlace Suites by Marriott, will have complete, full kitchens.” Williams said. It’s designed for the extended-stay guest – if a person wants to stay in the area for business or lifestyle changes. “The lower three floors will be SpringHill Suites (also a Marriott property), which is a little more high-end, and more for the leisure person not necessarily looking for a kitchen and everything they have at home. We’ve got a nice mix within the same building.”

Room rates at both hotels are expected to be between $95 and $150.

“The hotel property (will be) the only fullservice hotel (restaurant and meeting space) in this popular area of Shreveport,” said Stacy Brown, president of the Shreveport- Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau. “This location is great for social groups, corporate groups, sports groups and leisure travelers.”

Brown said that according to the latest Smith Travel Research, there are 95 hotels in Caddo and Bossier parishes, with just more than 10,000 rooms. But Williams is banking on there being room for two more hotels.

“We see it as a stable market that doesn’t have the big fluctuations that we see in other markets that are oil driven, or leisure/tourist driven, such as Florida or Houston,” Williams said. “It seems more steady. I think it has grown over the last number of years. There haven’t really been too many new hotels coming in, particularly in the area we’ve selected.”

The “area” Williams has selected is not immediately near Shreveport Regional Airport or any casinos. But it is close to Youree Drive, which offers a variety of shopping and dining choices.

“Primarily, we’re going to have a large amount of convention space, which not a lot of hotels in the market have. The other thing is, a person coming to Shreveport, they know that general area is a nice area – it borders some nice neighborhoods. I think also, its proximity to the airport, to downtown, to the air force base (Barksdale) – they all seem to be within a five- to sixmile radius.”

Transforming the old Wyndham – which Williams says was foreclosed on by its lender – into two new hotels takes a lot more than changing signs and rolling on a fresh coat of paint.

“All the rooms have been taken down to the concrete,” Williams said. “It’s concrete and metal studs. A positive thing about the building – the building is completely made out of concrete blocks – ceilings, floors, walls, so it’s a very strong building, which has its positives from strength. But it also presents challenges when you are trying to, for example, address electrical concerns and things like that. That’s a big part of the job. We’re going to have to reroute a lot of the electric and plumbing, and with the concrete building, it presents its challenges. We’re retro-fitting an old hotel building, or shell, with all new items.”

When all is done, there will be 207 rooms between the two hotels. That’s down from 270 rooms in the old Wyndham. There will also be a fitness center and a 6,000-squarefoot, in-house eatery – Boston’s Pizza Restaurant and Sports Bar.

But Williams said the most significant advantage of Shreveport-Bossier having these two properties is that both fall under the “Marriott” brand. Marriott is the world’s largest hotel chain.

“It’s massive,” Williams said. “Hands down, (Marriott) is the Rolls Royce of the hotel industry. It’s mainly because of their name, because of their quality, and the variety it offers the guest. They can go to any market, especially a major market, and there are 30 different brands they can choose from.”

To learn more about SpringHill Suites and TownePlace Suites, you may visit www. marriott.com, and click “Our Brands.”

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