SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Many have said the city’s economic future hinges on a casino. But a business group says the city has potential even without one. In fact, they made a multi-million dollar investment even before a casino was proposed.
The former Holiday Inn downtown on Congress Street has reopened as a La Quinta Inn. It’s been remodeled from the outside in. There’s a newly painted facade. And the interior including the lobby, lounge and guest rooms have a sleek, modern look.
The Pioneer Valley Hotel Group purchased the hotel in 2010. Shardool Parmar, president of the company, said the tourism already generated by the MassMutual Center, the Basketball Hall of Fame, area colleges, Six Flags and the Big E was enough to support their business. He said large financial risks by others in the downtown made his group even more confident.
“Investment in Springfield is what’s going to drive and make Springfield better,” said Parmar. “And that’s what we’re looking at. We saw that the Union Station, that there was going to be investment into that project.”
“We’re hoping that once business picks up, that we’re going to have more housekeepers, more front desk people, more sales people, more bartenders and also with the banquets business, more wait staff, cooks,” said Parmar.
Part of the hotel’s renovation was financed through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The loan guaranteed through the agency will be paid back over 20 years.
Parmar said it’s hard to tell what a Springfield casino and its hotel would mean for business.
“It’s exciting when someone’s ready to invest a billion dollars two blocks away from you or a block away from your hotel,” said Parmar. “However, the details still need to be determined to see what the long term viability and sustainability of the business is.”
The Pioneer Valley Hotel Group also owns a Comfort Inn and Suites in Ludlow and a Comfort Inn and Hampton Inn in Hadley.