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Major hotel due to relaunch in December

The new Clarion hotel will incorporate the Sally Port name, says General Manager Damon Anderson of Peak Hospitality. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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A major hotel in Roswell that closed three years ago will reopen in three weeks after having undergone extensive repairs and renovations.

The former Sally Port Inn at 2000 N. Main St. is scheduled to start accepting guests Dec. 1, said Damon Anderson, general manager and an employee of the hotel management firm Peak Hospitality of Albuquerque.

But take heart, those who have fond memories of the hotel’s heritage or are fans of all things alien. The hotel will continue to bear its former name when it reopens as the Clarion Inn & Suites Sally Port — and it will incorporate an extraterrestrial theme with a mural on an interior wall near the entrance.

“We hadn’t initially intended on that,” Anderson said about the Sally Port moniker, “but the community has spoken and we have heard it.”

He also said that he understands that some community members want the area to be known for more than UFOs, but he also plans to highlight aliens for visitors and tourists.

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The 120-room location will be a full-service hotel that includes conference rooms, an indoor courtyard, an indoor pool and a business center. It also is expected to have an on-site restaurant, room service and a bar after the ongoing negotiations with an eatery are concluded and the space adapted for the new tenant.

The hotel also still has an area that is equipped for a hair salon, and Anderson said he would like for a new business operator to offer that service to guests as well.

Anderson, who lives with his family in Phoenix, Arizona and has been with Peak Hospitality for about 12 years, said he will serve as the Clarion general manager for at least the first quarter of operations.

“My role is to come in through the construction, get the team hired, systems in place and ultimately groom our management team to take over,” he said.

The front-office manager and executive housekeeper have been hired, he said, while positions for front desk, housekeeping and breakfast attendant positions are being filled now.

He said the hotel will have about 30 to 35 employees.

Some groups already have scheduled to hold events at the hotel, he said, and online room bookings were due to begin by late last week.

Clarion Inn & Suites is part of the Choice Hotels International group, and Roswell has other Choice hotels, including a Quality Inn, a Comfort Suites and a Rodeway Inn.

But Anderson said that the Clarion brand is designed as the full-service option, with an on-site restaurant.

Anderson said he thinks the local market is able to handle the competition, which will be especially true if the city grows in the coming years.

“The studies I have seen is that this market has continually seen growth,” he said. “New products have come on line. When this hotel initially closed, the rest of the market almost immediately experienced a 15% to 20% occupancy growth.”

He estimated that the renovations and improvements to the interior and exterior have cost about $1.5 million. The work has included primarily plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning repairs, but also involved interior updates, cleaning, new paint and other renovations.

The investment is being made by Access Point Financial Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia, which has owned the property since 2018 and is expected to sell it after a year or two of successful operations.

Built in 1977 with a name and exterior to evoke the image of the New Mexico Military Institute, the hotel closed in November 2016 when it was owned by First Capital Real Estate Trust Inc. of New York and was affiliated with Best Western hotels. The K-Bob’s restaurant that adjoined the hotel closed in 2018.

Roswell has about 25 hotels and 1,433 rooms, according to the Roswell Hotel and Hospitality Association, with an 82-room downtown hotel under construction and private rentals also available.

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.