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Hotel group breaks ground on downtown Hilton

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“We have been here for about 20 years, so we know the market quite well,” says Ginda Singh of the Roswell Hotel Co. LLC. Those at the Monday groundbreaking are, from left, Jill Cleveland, to be the manager of the new motel; John Bain of First American Bank; Roswell City Councilor Jacob Roebuck; Ginda Singh; Project Manager Satish Narayan; Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh; Roswell City Councilor Jeanine Best; and Roswell City Councilor Steve Henderson. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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A $10 million Hilton “convention” hotel should be open in about a year, hotel representatives said at a groundbreaking Monday morning.

Ginda Singh, one of the partners of Roswell Hotel Co. LLC., said that the hotel group will build a Home2 Suites by Hilton at 700 N. Virginia Ave., a few blocks south of the Roswell Convention Center on North Main Street.

“There was a need for it,” said Singh of Watsonville, California. Along with partners, he also owns the Holiday Inn Express and the Baymont Inn in north Roswell, as well as other hotels in other cities.

“We have been here for about 20 years, so we know the market quite well,” he said. “And hopefully with the new extension to the convention center, this will be the choice hotel for the convention center. It will be the closest.”

The four-story hotel is expected to be completed in a year, according to Singh and Project Manager Satish Narayan. It will have 82 rooms — all suites with kitchenettes, sofa beds and workspaces — an indoor pool, a common area, an exercise room and a meeting room for up to 75 people.

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“Years ago there were hotels downtown,” said Mayor Dennis Kintigh, one of the city, county and business leaders at the groundbreaking. “There was a railroad hotel right down the block there. That’s been gone for a very long time. This investment in Roswell means a lot. This is a beginning or the continuation of the revitalization of this downtown. This will mean a lot to this community and to this region.”

The project has been in the planning stages for about a year. Smith Engineering Co. of Roswell has been working with the owner group for about four months, and Ranchers Group of Companies LLC based out of Oklahoma has started site work as the general contractor.

About 40 employees are expected to be hired once the hotel opens, Singh said. It will be managed by Jill Cleveland, currently the general manager of the Holiday Inn Express.

Singh said the hotel will serve all types of customers but is especially meant for those planning longer stays.

“It is a more-than-two-days-plus kind of clientele, the majority of it,” Singh said. “This fits the market a little better to balance it out.”

He explained that he and his partners have seen that area hotels are often full during major events. He also said that the companies he works with have relationships with the “big three” hotel groups — Marriott, Holiday Inn and Hilton — and thought that a Hilton would be a good addition to the Roswell market. The only other Hilton brand locally is the Hampton Inn and Suites, while there are several other Marriotts and Holiday Inn properties in the city.

New Mexico has three other Home2 Suites hotel properties, in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Farmington, said Senwhaa Lim, manager of brand communications for Hilton. She added that there are 238 of the properties open worldwide, with 433 in various stages of development.

The city now has 25 hotels, said Edie Stevens, vice president of the Roswell Hotel and Hospitality Association, for a total of 1,433 rooms.

An added component to the story is the historical link between the region and the Hilton brand.

Conrad Nicholson Hilton, the hotel group founder, was born on Christmas day in New Mexico in 1887 and graduated high school from the New Mexico Military Institute in 1904. An Army solider during World War I, he also served in the New Mexico State Legislature during its first session in 1912. His hospitality career began when he purchased the Mobley Hotel in Cisco, Texas, in 1919. The Hilton corporation became an international conglomerate by 1948.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.