Tampa Bay Hotel Development
Three New Hotels
It will join a proposed 92-room Fairfield Inn and Suites in the Wiregrass Ranch development — on a parcel just south of 120 acres owned by Pasco County and targeted for a sports-related tourism project — and a previously announced 80-room Holiday Inn Express and Suites that is scheduled to open in the spring. It is next door to the $20 million ice arena, which also is set to open in March of 2016.
The area currently is served by a single motel, a 94-room Hampton Inn and Suites, which opened in 2008 and is across the street from the Holiday Inn Express site. "This will be it,'' said Mark Smith, president of the business consulting firm Remarkable Hospitality Advisers. "Otherwise, you oversaturate the market, and it turns out poorly for all of them.''
The area's attraction to the motel industry is easy to see. "The outlet mall and the ice arena,'' said Hope Allen, executive director of the Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce, who gave tours of the area to hotel developers. "They'd say: 'What's happening in Wesley Chapel with all the growth? We need to be there.' ''Likewise, the investor prospectus for the Holiday Inn Express highlighted its proximity to the outlet mall, the ice arena, the nearby Shops at Wiregrass "and a ton of other demand generators.''
The 110-store Tampa Premium Outlets, owned by Simon Property Group, is scheduled to open Oct. 29 at the southwest corner of the I-75 and SR 56 interchange. The ice complex, the largest in the Southeast at 150,500 square feet, is at the northeast corner of the interchange. It is projected to draw up to 2 million visitors annually, about forty (40%) percent of whom will come from outside the Tampa Bay area.
The nearly 300 rooms in the proposed motels could help solve an ongoing problem confronting Pasco's tourism promoters. A recently released consultant's report on developing sports tourism in Pasco highlighted the dearth of hotel space. Within 11 miles of Wiregrass Ranch, Pasco County has 1,122 rooms. But 800 of them are at the Saddlebrook Resort, "an unlikely lodging option for participants in youth sports tourism events," the consultants said. Meanwhile, Hillsborough County has 2,352 rooms within the 11-mile radius. The county's largest sports tourism event, the Dick's Sporting Goods Lacrosse Tournament of Champions held each December in Wesley Chapel, brings in 100 teams and their families. But 60 percent of the hotel bookings are in Hillsborough County.
Source: Tampa Bay Times / AH&LA / 25 Sept 2015