New Marriott is Frederick County’s 21st hotel -- Gazette.Net



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Frederick County unveiled its newest hotel Monday — the TownePlace Suites by Marriott off of Md. 85 in Frederick — bringing the total number of hotels in the county to 21.

Officials say the demand from business travelers and tourists remains strong enough to warrant the current number of hotels in the county and those planned for the future.

“The demand has been strong,” John Fieseler, executive director of the Tourism Council of Frederick County, said in an email. “On a national level on an annual basis, hotel occupancy is a bit above 60 percent. Maryland is a point higher and Frederick County is a few points about that.”

In 2011, 35 percent of travelers visited the area for private-sector business, 28 percent for government work, 17 percent as an organized group for a particular activity and 17 percent for leisure, according to an assessment of the hotel market released in July by the city of Frederick.

“In 2011, Frederick County posted the highest increase in hotel room demand within the state which translated into estimated tourism expenditures of over $300 million,” the report said.

Revenue generated from hotels has also been good for Frederick County, according to Smith Travel Research, a national lodging industry firm.

In fiscal 2007, revenue was at $40 million, increasing slightly to $40.7 million in fiscal 2009 when the impact of the national recession took hold, according to the firm. Revenue from hotels dropped to $38.4 million in both fiscal 2010 and 2011. But in fiscal 2012, room revenue rebounded to $44.2 million.

Fieseler said that the county is the type of destination that benefits from the business travelers who return for leisure trips with their families.

“They may first come here for a meeting or training class, but once they look into what there is to do in this area, we often hear that they plan to return on a personal trip,” he said.

The proximity to Baltimore, Virginia and Washington, D.C., historic Civil War battlefield and museums, Harry Grove Stadium, Fort Detrick and a vibrant arts and downtown community has made the county an attractive place for visitors.

“We see that Frederick County has the need for high-end hotels,” Frederick County Board of Commissioners’ President Blaine R. Young (R) said. “We want to make sure we have a broad level of services and opportunities [for travelers]. They [developers] have to be willing to take the risk, and, obviously, the market is driven by demand.”

Young said the latest hotel unveiled this week is just the beginning.

Hyatt is also interested in putting a new 250- to 300-room hotel in the Jefferson Place Corporate Campus & Town Center, also known as the Jefferson Technology Center, which will be built on the U.S. 340 and Md. 180 corridor in Frederick, according to Young. And Hilton hotels has also shown interest in coming to the county, he said.

In addition, the city of Frederick has been discussing the building of a new hotel and conference center. The proposed hotel will be privately owned and operated with no public subsidy, but the city has been involved in finding a site for the project.

The hotel is expected to be a 160,000-square-foot facility with a large meeting space to accommodate about 600 people and 200 rooms for guests.

The city is hoping to hire a consultant to help select a developer by the end of the year and finish the site selection process early next year.

“The next year and a half you’re going to think Frederick County is in an economic boom,” Young said.

The newest 120-suite TownePlace Suites by Marriott on Westview Drive off of Buckeystown Pike is owned by Westview Hospitalitys Associates LLC and managed by Plamondon Hospitality Partners.

The $14 million hotel includes studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom suites with fully-equipped kitchens, as well as separate living, working and sleeping areas. The full kitchens come equipped with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. The rooms have built-in shelves and large flat-screen TVs, according to information released by the company.

“Right now, any community that can have a grand opening is a fortunate community,” Young said at the opening ceremony of TownePlace Suites. “This area was a good investment.”

sgreenfield@gazette.net.