Council approves funding for new hotel

Mike Linn

If everything goes according to plan, Eastern New Mexico University’s Natatorium won’t harbor the only indoor swimming pool in Portales.
The Portales City Council has agreed to spend $61,000 to help fund the construction of a new 65-room, Holiday Inn Express (prototype) hotel, complete with an indoor swimming pool, a jacuzzi and exercise room.
The council accepted the recommendation of an eight-member committee formed to review applicants seeking financial assistance.
“This fits very nicely into the goals and objectives to get people to stay in Portales while activities are happening here,” review committee Chairman Jerry Partin said.
The funds come from an 1/8 percent gross receipts tax approved by registered voters to be allocated toward economic development.
Developer Tushar Patel of TNJ Management/Inducement, the company planning to build the hotel, plans to meet with city officials in the near future to either accept or decline the offer.
The hotel could be up and running by the end of 2006 and will be located where the old Hillcrest Motel is on Highway 70 near the south part of town, Partin said.
Officials with TNJ Management initially requested $124,000 to demolish, clean up and erect site utilities. City officials said they feel the company can get the requests completed for $61,000.
The new motel would allow for 16 employees who will be paid over $250,000 collectively each year.
Mayor Orlando Ortega said city and economic development officials have been targeting a new hotel for almost a year now.
“I think the hotel will do great,” Ortega said. “We definitely have a need for it. Through the efforts of everyone who has been a part of this — the city council and the (Community Development Corporation) — we all joined together and created a business friendly environment for Mr. Patel.”
Also at the meeting:
l The council authorized City Clerk Joan Martinez-Terry to negotiate a contract with Ascent Aviation Products West for fuel for the Portales Municipal Airport.