The new Holiday Inn Express & Suites going up on Center Drive near the south Medford freeway interchange is on course to open in late November.
The $5.85 million, four-story, 42,615-square-foot, 91-unit hotel will be operated by Springfield-based InnSight Hotel Management Group, which manages adjacent Center Drive properties SpringHill Suites by Marriott and TownePlace Suites by Marriott, as well as Courtyard by Marriott at the Medford airport, and Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Central Point.
Innsight Hotel Management named Raymond Hetzer general manager. Hetzer cut his hospitality business teeth working the front desk at the Candlewood Suites, an extended stay property off Biddle Road, and earned his first general manager’s role four years ago at the Holiday Inn Express in Yreka. He moved on to the Inn at Wecoma in Lincoln City before detouring into the mental health field, working for Kairos NW in human resources and recruiting.
The chance to oversee the opening a new property and hire a staff lured him back into the hospitality industry.
“I like the travel aspect, the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and different walks of life,” Hetzer said. “This is my biggest property, but there’s not a huge difference, you just have a few extra guests.”
The Holiday Inn Express, at 1375 Center Drive, is being built by Baldwin Construction. It features a prototype Formula Blue design, including a large lobby and marketplace. There are 19 suites, an indoor pool, fitness center, meeting room, business center and guest laundry facilities.
“The fitness center will be one of the largest (for hotels) in the area,” Hetzer said.
After a quiet period extending for nine years, the hotel project is the second in two years; the Hilton Garden Inn on Welcome Way opened in December 2016.
“Southern Oregon is growing,” Hetzer said. “Restaurants and shopping centers are coming in, and we’re right off the freeway for people traveling from San Francisco to Portland.”
The addition of eateries such as Cracker Barrel, Five Guys Burgers, Mod Pizza and Chipotle on the south side will add to what already makes the location attractive to travelers, such as U.S. Cellular Community Park, the RRRink, and Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center.
“We’re not too far from the airport,” he said. “People flying in don’t want to stay at that end of town, because there aren’t a lot of restaurants within walking distance.”
Right now, Hetzer is ordering supplies and signs. He said he will hire an office manager during the next month, followed by housekeeping and maintenance managers in September. In late October, the hotel will fill out its 30- to 40-employee staff. Some will come from 16 other Innsight properties.
“There will be some transfers from within Innsight, but we don’t want to short-staff the others because we have a shiny new hotel,” he said.
The present 63-unit Holiday Inn Express opened in 1998 next to Veterans Memorial Park off Highway 99. A spokesman said the property next to the Armory will be affiliated with Choice Hotels group, but the specific brand has yet to be determined.
Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness or www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.