WICHITA — A South Dakota company is building a new Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites near the northeast corner of 21st and Greenwich.
KAJ Management of Mitchell, S.D., will break ground on the 97-room hotel in early November.
“We’re full steam ahead to start construction,” says owner and vice president Aaron Johnson.
The project is separate from the STAR bonds district that’s being created for a new athletic complex at K-96 and Greenwich.
“We would have done it regardless,” Johnson says. “Without question, the future looks very good in that area of town.”
The hotel will be within the district but won’t receive any financial assistance from it, Johnson says.
The Holiday Inn, which will take about seven months to build, will be KAJ’s sixth hotel.
Mitchell-based Puetz Corp. is the contractor.
KAJ also purchased the adjacent 88-room Staybridge Suites this summer.
MK Hospitality and DKC Development sold the 3-year-old hotel to KAJ for $8.5 million.
“It was one of the highest sales for the brand ever in the United States,” says former co-owner Dan Marak.
Marak, who is based in Shawnee, is partners in MK Hospitality with Nebraska-based John Klimpel.
“We weren’t really marketing it,” Marak says of the hotel. “We just got an offer. It was a pretty nice offer. We just couldn’t resist it.”
Marak says the hotel opened at a difficult time.
“We kind of hit the down cycle at the beginning.”
Also, he says, “We were kind of lonely out there, and then everything developed around us.”
Sales improved, and the hotel maintained about an 80 percent occupancy rate, Marak says.
“For our region, the hotel had the highest revenue increase … year over year.”
Johnson says the hotel’s performance is part of what attracted him to purchase it.
KAJ sold three properties in smaller markets this spring and summer.
“We were on the search for more upscale hotel properties in bigger markets,” Johnson says. “Wichita seemed to be a nice midsize city.”