By Tony Parra
The wet ground from Tuesday evening’s rains made it softer for those who brought a shovel for the Holiday Inn Express ground-breaking on Wednesday morning.
There were cranes behind Mayor Orlando Ortega and Holiday Inn Express developers doing the heavy work while Ortega and developers dug with a shovel. Developer Tushar Patel said the goal is to have the Holiday Inn Express open in approximately 11 months.
Patel said his crew has built in almost every city in New Mexico and has developed 40 hotels in three states within the last 10 years. He said they have built in large cities such as Albuquerque, but the development in Portales has a different feel to it.
“They (Portales people) care, the whole community cares,” Patel said. “In bigger cities, you’re just a number. The city and community have been great to work with. We decided to develop after we saw the support from the community. They have been positive.”
Patel said there has been groundwork for the last two weeks on the property. He said he wants to have the concrete work finished before colder weather. Representatives from the Roosevelt Chamber of Commerce, city and county were present for the ground breaking. City councilors Ron Jackson, Mike Miller and D.K. Shafer took the time to thank the developers for making Portales their choice.
“We recognized the need for a real nice hotel in our community,” Ortega said. “I’d like to thank the hard work from the city councilors, our city manager Debi Lee, CDC (Community Development Corporation) Director Kim Huffman and ENMU (Eastern New Mexico University) president Steven Gamble. I’d like to thank Mr. Gamble for helping demonstrate a need for a hotel in our community.”
The proposed 65-room hotel will probably have between 15 to 20 employees. Patel said the hotel will contain a conference room and a small meeting room.