By Marlena Hartz : CNJ staff writer
Imesh Vaidya of Premier Hospitality Suites is a businessman who can predict the future. He predicts the face of Clovis will continue to change. His most recent venture — the construction of a new Holiday Inn Express — in fact, ensures it.
“With more franchises coming in, Clovis will definitely have a much different look,” said Vaidya, who also owns La Quinta Suites at 4521 N. Prince St.
The new Holiday Inn Express is slated to open its doors in 2007.
It will be adjacent and to the north of La Quinta Suites, a facility that was recently named “Inn of the Year” by its corporate office.
Vaidya’s Holiday Inn Express, franchised through the Intercontinental Hotel Group, will occupy 46,000 square feet of space, featuring three floors and 90 rooms. Although the new facility will not contain a bar or restaurant, and will only offer limited food and beverages, it is, in Vaidya’s opinion, a big step up for Clovis’ hospitality scene.
“The town has a lot of old rooms that need to be updated.
Our new facility will be replacing the current Holiday Inn whose license is up in 2007. We will be offering a more modern product with more recent amenities, such as free continental breakfast, high-speed Internet, larger televisions and an elevator,” said Vaidya, who has one more prediction — the north end of town and Route 209 will be the new lodging center in Clovis.
Currently, the majority of hotels in Clovis are located on Mabry Drive east of Prince Street.
Bill Geise, who developed La Quinta Suites and will also develop the new Holiday Inn Express, said the shift in location is positive.
“The arrival of La Quinta … was the best thing that ever happened for Clovis. It’s booked up every night. Before people traveling to Clovis couldn’t get a good night’s sleep — with the railroad so near to available lodging,” Geise said from behind the desk of his realty investment company on Fairway Terrace.
However, at least one hotel manager on Mabry Drive says the area continues to have a niche market, and business there is strong.
“I’ve been here since October, and I have not gotten one complaint about the trains,” said Wanda Pannu, who manages the Motel 7 at 2620 Mabry. “In fact I have a couple of people who come and say they like it here because they can see the trains.”
Many people traveling east and west just don’t want to get off the main drag, she said, and that’s an advantage for hotels along the strip.
The Holiday Inn of Mabry Drive currently employs 45 people. Vaidya said the existing building will house another hotel, although the hotel it will house has not been determined. He said he would be interested in employing those interested and qualified, but added that he can employ about 30 people at maximum.
CNJ staff writer David Irvin contributed to this report.