The first new hotel construction in more than three decades will break ground next week in Pensacola’s downtown core.
A 106-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites is being built at 101 East Main Street in downtown Pensacola. According to the hotel’s developer, Siddiqi Investments of Knoxville, Tenn., groundbreaking for the five-story hotel is expected sometime within the next week. The property is currently a vacant lot in the heart of the downtown core, where a string of developers have begun buying up and developing properties over the past several years.
“This site was chosen because it is the epicenter of downtown Pensacola’s development boom,” said Heeteesh Patel, a partner with Siddiqi Investments. “We went to several cities in the panhandle to look at building our first hotel in Florida. After looking at many cities we narrowed our decision to Pensacola.”
Patel’s company purchased the property for $1.5 million in December 2014. Since 2006, it’s been a vacant grassy lot. Prior to that, the property had been home to a historic brick warehouse previously owned by the Lewis Bear Company that was built in 1905. That building was heavily damaged and razed after Hurricane Ivan struck Pensacola in 2005. Patel says the look of the building is meant to blend with the downtown historic district, where many industrial warehouses and businesses were once located.
Patel says the hotel is a perfect fit for the downtown area, where there are few hotels within a short walking distance to restaurants, nightlife and attractions. “We’ve purposely limited the amount of amenities within the hotel to allow our guests to enjoy the great amenities of downtown Pensacola,” said Patel. “The hotel is meant to complement the growth of downtown Pensacola. We invested here because we felt confident in the market of Pensacola.”
Completion of the hotel is expected in the Fall of 2016. Kana Hotels, also based out of Knoxville, will manage and operate the hotel.