Paul Morden, The Obserrver
June 2, 2015
The company building a Hampton Inn on Venetian Boulevard in Point Edward said it is expected to create 30 new jobs once it’s operating.
Hamilton-based Vrancor Group will own and operate the 92-room Hampton Inn by Hilton expected to be completed this coming winter.
“We are excited to build a high quality, new hotel in Sarnia,” Darko Vranich, president of the Vrancor Group said in a press release.
The company owns and operates 14 branded and independent hotels in Ontario.
Construction of the $5-million, six-story hotel began this spring on Venetian Boulevard between the Guildwood Inn and Holiday Inn, and next to Highway 402 as it approaches the Blue Water Bridge crossing to Michigan.
Ken Hoare, chairperson of Tourism Sarnia-Lambton, said it has been several years since a new hotel opened in the region.
“It’s fantastic to see something come online like that,” he said.
“It just shows there is demand for it.”
There have been other encouraging signs recently for the tourist business in Sarnia-Lambton, said Hoare, who is general manager of Indian Hills Golf Club in Lambton Shores.
In particular, he pointed to the currency exchange rate helping drawing U.S. travellers.
“I’ve already seen a difference in our own operation here,” Hoare said.
“There’s a lot more American interest, traffic and bookings throughout the summer than there has been for the past few years.”
George Mallay, general manager of the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, said, “New investment is always a vote of confidence in the community.”
The fact the new hotel is part of a large brand is expected to help Sarnia-Lambton’s marketing efforts, as well as adding hotel rooms and meeting facilities to the area, Mallay said.
Vrancor said the new Hampton Inn by Hilton will have an indoor swimming pool and fitness centre, a 24-hour business centre, meeting facilities for up to 150 people, and will provide guests with free hot breakfasts.
“Guests recognize the quality and value that Hilton Worldwide represents across its portfolio,” Vranich said.
“The reputation of Hilton Worldwide and Hampton Inn, combined with our building, design and property management abilities are sure to provide guests with an exceptional hotel experience.”
The company has several other Hampton Inns in Ontario, including one that just opened in Timmins, said Peter Tosh, director of operations for Vrancor Group.
“We feel it’s a great time and a great market,” Tosh said about the project in Point Edward.
The company generally looks to put a hotel leadership team in place four or five months before opening and holds a job fair to recruit the staff approximately 60 days before opening the doors, he said.