The developers of a $12 million hotel that will be built on Medical Center Drive held a groundbreaking ceremony for the project Friday morning.
The four-story, 109-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites is under development
by Kismet Wilmington LLC on 2 acres at 1025 Medical Center Drive.
Hotel developer Steven Arp and partners involved in the Holiday Inn Express, including Singh and Manjula Ahluwalia, were among those who attended the ceremony Friday at the currently wooded site. The hotel will be built by Tennessee-based Thomas Builders and the work could take up to 18 months, depending on permits and weather. Holden Beach resident Mike Merritt is the superintendent for Thomas Builders for the project.
"We're just looking forward to providing another venue for the community, taking care of them and providing a wonderful service," Arp said Friday. "We think Wilmington is such a great, diverse market."
He said the hotel is expected to welcome both business and leisure travelers. "Then you have people that have the need to go to the hospital, and family members have got to have a place to stay," Arp said.
Singh Ahluwalia said the partnership group building the Medical Center Drive hotel studied the market and had a feasibility study done before choosing to buy the property for its first hotel in Wilmington. The group, which has built hotels throughout North Carolina and South Carolina, is also looking at potential hotel sites elsewhere in Wilmington.
Nicholas Silivanch, a broker with Wilmington-based Eastern Carolinas Commercial Real Estate, who represented the development group in the purchase of the Medical Center Drive site, said at the ceremony Friday, "It's always been a pleasure to represent Steve in finding sites for him throughout the Carolinas for hotels. And we're excited to continue our work both here in Wilmington and elsewhere in helping him locate suitable sites for hotel brands."