New hotel brings hope for more development - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

New hotel brings hope for more development

The Waffle House billboard stands next to the site crews are clearing for the building. The Waffle House billboard stands next to the site crews are clearing for the building.

There is new activity in Montgomery leaders say comes just at the right time.

A Doubletree hotel and Waffle House restaurant are under construction and on Madison Avenue.

They're businesses many say are needed in that area.

"We hope that this will ease that burden because we're staying in the 70% occupancy rate in the downtown area," says Montgomery Convention and Visitors' Bureau Director, Dawn Hathcock.

Hathcock tracks the city's tourism numbers.

She says many Montgomery hotels are full on a regular basis.

"We've got so many groups that are coming in and now with the [Cramton Bowl] Multiplex built downtown it's also another strain on our hotel occupancy side. And it's a good strain."

Why?  Hathcock says it actually makes Montgomery even more attractive.

"When you get in that 65-75%, that's when the hoteliers start looking at other rooms to bring into your market," adds Hathcock.

Hotel rooms aren't the only thing moving in to the market.

A Waffle House will soon open across the street--at the corner of McDonough Street and Madison Avenue.

The action nearby prompted manager Mike Clements to snatch the spot.

"I saw the foot traffic at breakfast and at lunch and in the afternoon. It's just a no-brainer."

With these new businesses come new jobs and job seekers.

"We have people walking in to the two closest locations, at Ann Street and Atlanta Highway, wanting to know already," adds Clements.

Doubletree hotel managers have already hired the 60 people they need.

Tourism leaders say downtown isn't the only place where hotels are thriving.

East Montgomery hotels--like the ones at East Chase are just as full.

The Doubletree hotel plans to open in mid-April.  Waffle House is slated to open in July.

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