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The construction of downtown Pensacola’s first new hotel in more than three decades is nearing completion.

A 106-room, 65,000 square foot Holiday Inn Express & Suites is being built at 101 East Main Street downtown. The hotel’s developer, Siddiqi Investments of Knoxville, Tenn., broke ground on the $8 million project late last year, building atop the site of a former turn-of-the-century warehouse.

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The new $8 milllion Holiday Inn Express and Suites rises above Main Street in downtown Pensacola. (Drew Buchanan/The Pulse)

“This site was chosen because it is the epicenter of downtown Pensacola’s development boom,” Heeteesh Patel, a partner with Siddiqui Investments, said prior to groundbreaking. “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.”

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(Siddiqui Investments/Special to The Pulse)

Patel’s company purchased the property for $1.5 million in December 2014. Prior to 2006, 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. According to the developer, the seemingly plain look of the building is meant to blend with the downtown historic district, where many industrial warehouses and businesses were once located.

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The former Lewis Bear warehouse at 101 E. Main Street, built in 1905. (State of Florida/Special to The Pulse)

Patel said 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 late 2016. Knowville-based Trigem Construction is the general contractor and Kana Hotels, also based out of Knoxville, will manage and operate the hotel.

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The new $8 milllion Holiday Inn Express and Suites rises above Main Street in downtown Pensacola. (Drew Buchanan/The Pulse)

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