ESA breaks ground on first new property in more than 10 years

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 16 November 2018

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US: Extended Stay America has broken ground on a four-storey, 124-key hotel in Gibsonton, Florida.

The event is the company's first groundbreaking in more than 10 years, with the property expected to open in autumn 2019.

"This is a property we've been working on for some time," said Jonathan Halkyard, CEO of Extended Stay America. "It's in a market we like very much. It's near many of the types of businesses that we rely upon for our business at Extended Stay, so we're just very optimistic about how this hotel is going to perform, and we think it's going to be a terrific new business in this area."

ESA already has eight properties in the Tampa Bay area. "Our business really serves people who are travelling for business. They're away from home for a month, six weeks at a time, and they're usually involved with the creation of a new business, whether it be construction, training programs, pre-opening-those kinds of things-and there's a lot of that going on in the Tampa area."

The hotel will showcase ESA's new prototype, which includes the StayPlay lobby design, all vinyl plank flooring throughout, modernised kitchens with open cabinetry, raised platform beds, black-out shades, a fresh colour palette, a fitness centre, guest laundry, grab-and-go breakfast, in-room WiFi and pet-friendly rooms. Also part of the new prototype: property-wide LED energy efficient lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures for water conservation and air exchange technology for guestrooms.

ESA is the sole developer for the project. "We did use local developers to help us find the site that would best fit the extended stay need," said Judi Bikulege, managing director of real estate at ESA. ESA expects to break ground on two more projects by the end of 2018.

"Our company has acquired 10 real estate sites - most of them in the Southeast-but we will probably acquire another 10 before the end of the year," Halkyard said. "Twenty sites by the end of the year, so we'll be doing a lot of groundbreaking in 2019."

The company has also been selling off assets - last week it concluded the sale of 32 properties across two separate portfolios to franchise partners.

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