Ceremonial shovels hit the ground Wednesday as Choice Hotels Canada officially announced plans to construct a 66-room Comfort Inn and Suites at 31 Community Road in Greater Napanee.
The hotel is expected to open towards the end of this year. It will mark Choice Hotels’ first foray into Napanee, though they did break into the Kingston market two years ago. Napanee’s construction is one of three currently underway for the company, which is also expanding into Bowmanville and Goderich.
“We see Napanee growing as a destination market,” said Graham Marsh, director of franchise development for Choice Hotels. “We put more research into this market specifically and found this land from a previous owner and here we are with a hotel under construction.”
Staffing for the new hotel is expected to take place throughout the construction process as training will take place offsite in preparation for the grand opening.
“The jobs are all going to be local,” said Marsh. “They’re going to be off-site owners. So from that standpoint you’re going to end up with a general manager likely from the community, all cleaning staff, housekeeping, landscaping, snow plow (being hired locally). Typically in a hotel this size it could be anywhere from 25-50 people coming from the local community.”
Local franchiser Shahid Mahmood, president of the Waraich Development Group, said he spoke with both Lennox and Addington County and Greater Napanee representatives when researching a potential location. Greater Napanee’s booming sports tourism industry was a big draw. Often times when major provincial or international tournaments have come to town, teams have had to book accommodations outside L&A County due to a lack of space.
“The town was looking for more accommodations so they can have more events,” said Mahmood. “Before they can have more events they need more space so they can accommodate more hockey teams, have more tournaments. So now they’ll have more rooms available to help the community.”
Members of Greater Napanee’s town council as well as L&A County council were on hand for the ceremony.
“We welcome this kind of development,” said Greater Napanee mayor Gord Schermerhorn. “It’s great for the municipality. It’s great for our sports tourism part of the municipality. Comfort Inn is a well-known chain so I think it’s great that this is happening.”
Along with 66 rooms, the hotel is expected to include an indoor pool and fitness centre. It will become the 151st Comfort Inn established in Canada.