Featured: TownePlace Suites by Marriott in Edinburg, whose owners, the Qube Hotel Group of Carrollton, Texas, hosted a grand opening on Friday, February 10, 2017, is the first of its type for the famous Marriott International brand, considered one of the top hospitality companies in the world, according to Ron Stewart of Dallas, Area Vice President, Lodging Development for Marriott International, Inc. “We have been watching Edinburg for a while. I have heard a lot of interesting things about what is happening with the growth, and among the most impressive things now, there have been some really big changes, not just in the economic, housing and retail environments, but some of the projects I saw today were so impressive, such as Bob’s Steak & Chop House, with the Bert Ogden Arena construction finally going vertical, the soccer stadium complex (H-E-B Park). Those, to me, were very, very impressive.” Ideal for travelers who need accommodations for longer stays, this new property offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens, as well as separate living/working and sleeping areas.
Photograph By JERI DEATHERAGE
Featured: Mayor Richard García on Friday, February 10, 2o17, applauds the grand opening of the 95-room, TownePlace Suites by Marriott, located at 502 W. Trenton Road in Edinburg. The new hotel, a $10 million investment, is owned and managed by Qube Hotel Group of Carrollton, Texas. Along with the mayor in this image are, from left: Agustín “Augie” Lozano, Jr., Public Relations Manager, Bert Ogden Auto Group, and two-time Ambassador of the Year for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Himesh M. Jeram, Chief Executive Officer, Qube Hotel Group; Mayor García, who also serves as President, Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Hiren M. Govind, Chief Operating Officer, Qube Hotel Group, holding son Zaylen Govind; Mohan Tewani, Chief Financial Officer, Qube Hotel Group; René Flores, Ambassador, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, and Owner of The X-Factor; Brenda Garza, General Manager, TownePlace Suites by Marriott; and Shekhar Gianchandani, Chief Development Officer, Qube Hotel Group. The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. In addition to the mayor, the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr. are not related. “Such a major investment, the most recent of many outstanding businesses growing in our community or moving to our city, with more to come, is a reflection of the strong confidence that business owners, from independent, small family-owned stores to global corporations, have in our city, its future, and especially in our citizens,” the mayor said. “As I predicted during my State of the City Address less than a year ago, together, we are transforming Edinburg into a ‘Destination City’, a city that offers the best education, superb residential options for every level, and world-class cultural and sporting venues.”
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
Edinburg EDC announces that $10 million TownePlace Suites by Marriott offers latest proof that Edinburg is becoming the “Destination City”
By DAVID A. DÍAZ
The latest proof that Edinburg is becoming the “Destination City” proclaimed on Thursday, May 19, 2016, during the State of the City address by Mayor Richard García was unveiled on Friday, February 10, 2017, with a lavish grand opening ceremony for the $10 million TownePlace Suites by Marriott, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.
Several hundred business, political, community, and economic development leaders, along with area residents, showed up for the early evening ribbon-cutting and celebration for the 95-room extended stay complex, which is the first of its kind in the nation for the famous Marriott International brand, considered one of the top hospitality companies in the world.
Ideal for travelers who need accommodations for longer stays, TownePlace Suites by Marriott, located at 502 W. Trenton Road, offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens, as well as separate living/working and sleeping areas, according to company leaders. Guests can work and relax on their own terms in modern suites that feature full kitchens with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, adjustable work spaces with built-in shelves and lighting, a large flat screen television, as well as luxurious new bedding. Most rooms also feature the Home Office™ Suite, designed to provide guests with plenty of storage and flexible space to spread out and make it their own.
Mayor García, who was joined at the event by his colleagues on the Edinburg City Council, praised the leadership of the Qube Hotel Group of Carrollton, Texas, which owns and operates the new upscale hotel, for their decision and vision in locating in Edinburg.
“Such a major investment, the most recent of many outstanding businesses growing in our community or moving to our city, with more to come, is a reflection of the strong confidence that business owners, from independent, small family-owned stores to global corporations, have in our city, its future, and especially in our citizens,” the mayor said. “As I predicted during my State of the City Address less than a year ago, together, we are transforming Edinburg into a ‘Destination City’, a city that offers the best education, superb residential options for every level, and world-class cultural and sporting venues.”
The Qube Hotel Group, whose leadership includes Edinburg residents, features Himesh M. Jeram, Chief Executive Officer, Hiren M. Govind, Chief Operating Officer, Mohan Tewani, Chief Financial Officer, Shekhar Gianchandani, Chief Development Officer, and Brenda Garza, General Manager, TownePlace Suites by Marriott in Edinburg.
The mayor also was generous is sharing credit for a growing list of economic achievements with his four colleagues on the Edinburg City Council, the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, and city staff and Edinburg EDC staff.
“We work in partnership, through the effective jobs-creation policies we put in place at the city and Edinburg EDC levels, all the way to the Texas Legislature, the U.S. Congress, and beyond, to promote a high quality of life for all of our residents,” García said. “The amazing advances we see happening in Edinburg are not by chance. These successes come about from our proven track record of working hard and working smart to make it so, and especially because of the integrity, intelligence, achievements, and admirable work ethics of the people of Edinburg.”
The mayor offered a summary of some of the major assets in Edinburg which draw thousands of visitors on a daily basis to his hometown, including the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley campus in Edinburg, with its recently-opened $54 million Medical Education Building and $42.7 million Performing Arts Center, the $88 million Bert Ogden Arena, currently under construction, the planned $29 million Cinergy Entertainment complex in north Edinburg, and H-E-B Park, which features a professional soccer stadium valued at more than $16 million. Also on the drawing board is a $150 million Hidalgo County Courthouse, to be built downtown, scheduled to break ground in early 2018.
“YOU GUYS ARE JUST RELENTLESS TRYING TO RECRUIT US”
City Councilmember Richard Molina said the city leadership works tirelessly to help existing businesses and bring new businesses and create more jobs in Edinburg, recalling the first time they made a move to convince Marriott of the wisdom of locating one of its premiere complexes here.
Discussions with Marriott leaders by the Edinburg EDC began in earnest in May 2014.
“Almost three years ago, I remember – I even have a photograph of me with Ron (Stewart) with Marriott Hotels – having a talk in Dallas, about trying to recruit Marriott to come to our beloved city of Edinburg. I remember the conversation we had, and Ron said, ‘You guys are very aggressive. You are the third guy I have heard from Edinburg. I heard from (Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín) ‘Gus’ García, I heard from (then Edinburg City Manager) Ramiro Garza – you guys are just relentless trying to recruit us.’”
Stewart, a Dallas resident who serves as Area Vice President, Lodging Development for Marriott, also attended the Friday, February 10, 2017 event in Edinburg.
“I asked him, ‘How many cities are going to give you first-class service by bringing you the top leaders, the city manager, the executive director of the Edinburg EDC, the city councilmembers, to meet with you face-to-face, not through a teleconference, but to travel all the way up here to make the deal happen?’” Molina recalled. “Ron answered, ‘Well, there are not too many people who are willing to do that.’”
Molina expressed deep satisfaction with the end result, and predicted more commercial and retail growth because of the hotel’s presence along the approximately two-mile stretch of Trenton Road that connects South McColl Road with Interstate 69 Central.
“I am excited to finally see this hotel come to fruition. With the prime land all around here, this is the start of something great. We have Bob’s Steak & Chop House, which is a five-star restaurant, being built right down the street at The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley. We know the Bert Ogden Arena is nearby and under construction, and this Marriott is already plugging into the momentum that is about to take off,” Molina said. “I spoke with one of the investors from the Qube Hotel Group and they said they need the arena done yesterday, and I said we agreed. They believe the arena is going to be a game-changer for them, and spur growth and clientele for this hotel.”
The Place 1 city councilmember hinted of other plans underway by private interests to begin building near the TownePlace Suites by Marriott.
“As far as the surrounding area, we have heard different offers, people wanting to build different things from commercial buildings to restaurants. I can tell you we are are getting a lot of offers because this is prime property,” he said. “Everyone talks about the Trenton Road corridor is exploding, connecting with North McAllen, and there is a lot of traffic that comes through. I know there are talks of other developments right across the street, deals that they are trying to close. I am excited for Edinburg, having been born and raised here.”
Molina added that one of the many features of the new hotel is the Ignite Lounge, which also drew much of the luxury hotel’s grand opening ceremony crowd.
“I heard several comments from people visiting this hotel and they were going to the Ignite area, a very nice bar, and they were saying, ‘I can’t believe that I am in Edinburg,’” he noted. “That stays in my mind, because it lets you know that people are getting excited about the great things we are doing in Edinburg.”
“EDINBURG VERY EAGER, VERY HUNGRY FOR THIS TYPE OF ENVIRONMENT”
Harvey Rodríguez, Jr., Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg EDC, agreed with the mayor’s and city councilmember’s views on the continuing economic growth for the city and for the Trenton Road corridor.
“Edinburg has seen a complete spike in growth, and hotels are a must,” Rodríguez said. “We have been behind the eight-ball regarding the number of hotels we need, in part because of the major, modern public and private facilities and related entertainment venues which draw thousands of people to Edinburg on a regular basis, the rapid population growth of our city, which is approaching 100,000 residents, and which serves as the county seat for Hidalgo County, the seventh-most populous Texas county with more than 840,000 people.”
The Edinburg EDC provided key economic incentives to help bring the hotel, a decision “that was a no-brainer because we knew it would attract something very special, a guaranteed hit, something the city needed, and we wound up with Marriott bringing a luxury hotel with that big name behind it,” he said. “I believe that Trenton Road in Edinburg is a robust region for thriving businesses such as retail complexes and hotels. The best is yet to come.
“Edinburg is very eager, very hungry for this type of environment, and I am sure there is plenty more to come in the near future, based on my knowledge of the behind-the-scenes work being conducted by our Mayor, City Council, and Edinburg EDC leadership,” Rodríguez added.
Included in the financial help provided by the Edinburg EDC, as authorized by its Board of Directors, were off-site improvements valued at $217,000, an incentive for signage valued at $202,000, and securing an easement, which was required to make the hotel complex accessible to Trenton Road, reported Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr.
“The signage was for entire development, which entails two two-acre pad sites and hotel,” Agustín García, Jr. further explained. “The Edinburg EDC worked with all the parties to develop a hotel and retail development, and the incentives were designed to create jobs and infrastructure for the development, and to bring visitors and increase retail traffic.
As with all other projects involving Edinburg EDC financial incentives, no public funds are released by the Edinburg EDC until the project is completed, a specific number of jobs are created for a certain period of time, and all other requirements of the Edinburg EDC are reached.
Marriott’s Stewart said company leaders have been closely monitoring the vitality of the city for several years, and offered his firm’s independent views of Edinburg and its future.
“We seek opportunities for new development to grow our brands, and Edinburg has been a target for us for some time now in trying to bring the Marriott brand to this part of this metropolitan area. I have made multiple trips to Edinburg for years in the making trying to bring this to life,” Stewart said.
He described how he and other Marriott leaders sized up the city as a preferred location.
“We have been watching Edinburg for a while. I have heard a lot of interesting things about what is happening with the growth, and among the most impressive things now, there have been some really big changes, not just in the economic, housing and retail environment,” Stewart said. “But some of the projects I saw today were so impressive, such as Bob’s Steak & Chop, the Bert Ogden Arena construction finally going vertical, the soccer stadium complex. Those, to me, were very, very impressive.”
Among other findings by Marriott about Edinburg were that the city has “a lot of folks moving to the area, and Edinburg is a very attractive place to live, and that is one of the big aspects, with the emphasis of having guests who stay longer term. Things like the U.S. Border Patrol, people here for assignments, government travelers, this is a great hotel brand for them,” he explained.
The Edinburg hotel is groundbreaking for the Marriott corporation.
“This prototype is really designed for guests who stay for an extended period of time, such as those guests staying for five days or more – these are our target guests. They will have guests who stay for shorter periods, of course, but about 50 percent should be five days or more,” Stewart said. “This is a generation 4 prototype, and this happens to be the very first one to open up in the entire USA, which makes it very unique. We are so excited to have our local owners bring this to life. They have really done a tremendous job. This is the first one, and none others planned at this stage.”
The hotel’s location near the booming Edinburg hospitals district, which features Edinburg Regional Medical Center, Edinburg Children’s Hospital, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, and other health care systems, is not lost on Marriott leaders.
“Given the emphasis and growth of the medical facilities here – and we hear there are aspirations of this region eventually becoming similar to the Texas Medical Center as they have in Houston — the idea of an extended stay hotel is a tremendous asset to have to accommodate families to attend to loved ones in a hospital. It is a home away from home during what might be a tough and stressful time,” he said.
And he is watching for developments in possible plans by UTRGV to field a college football team.
“I think a college football team would be great. You have much community support down here and the ability to field a football team,” Stewart continued. “If you look at any college town, hotels have a very positive lift when you have a lot of folks traveling to come stay in the market where their teams are visiting.”
HOTELS/MOTELS IN EDINBURG HELP LOCAL EFFORTS TO INCREASE TOURISM
Increasing tourism to Edinburg is also part of Councilmember Molina’s public service duties, not only as a city councilmember, but also as a volunteer serving on the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, said Letty González, President of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce.
“According to the mission of the Edinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is part of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, we are responsible for helping provide leadership in initiating as well as coordinating the marketing of Edinburg throughout the world as a highly desirable vacation and convention destination; to solicit and serve conventions and other related group business; and to engage in visitor promotions which generate overnight stays for Edinburg, thereby, enhancing and developing the economic fabric of the community,” said González. “Certainly, another first-class complex such as the TownePlace Suites by Marriott continues to bring credibility and prestige to Edinburg as the ‘Destination City’ envisioned by our elected city leadership.”
Primary funding for the Edinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau is through an overnight accommodations (hotel/motel) tax – in the City of Edinburg. The hotel/motel tax charged to guests in Edinburg is 13 percent (seven percent city, six percent state), unless they stay more than 30 consecutive days. In that event, guests do not pay the hotel/motel tax to the city or state. Also, some state and federal government entities are partially or fully exempted from paying that tax.
Such funding, including the hotel/motel tax that will come from guests at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott, is used for:
Major emphasis will be placed on efforts to attract more interest from markets; Winter Texans, Wholesale Tour Market, Motor-Coach, Travel Agents, and Nature Tourism.
Although the marketing efforts are high priority on the state and regional meeting markets, major emphasis will be placed on securing meetings and events which will occupy additional sleeping rooms in Edinburg.
A great deal of time will be devoted to increasing Edinburg, regional, Texas, national and international exposure. Additional emphasis will be placed on Canadian and Mexican visitor marketing, film inducement, sports events promotions, hotel/motel/campground promotion, and festivals promotion.
SEAMLESS RESIDENTIAL ATMOSPHERE
According to a company news release announcing the Edinburg facility, TownePlace Suites by Marriott has been built for travelers looking for a simple and friendly place where they can settle-in, keep their routine, and easily connect to the Edinburg area.
“We are excited to introduce the TownePlace Suites brand,” said Loren Nalewanski, Vice President and Global Brand Manager, TownePlace Suites. “At TownePlace Suites, we get it. We do everything we can to make our guests feel comfortable. We encourage our guests to be real, and help them to do so by providing a seamless residential atmosphere with a friendly staff who genuinely care about our guests. That is what our brand is all about, and this property is a great example of that.”
All service team members are thoroughly trained on local knowledge and look forward to connecting guests to the local area. The floor-to-ceiling TowneMap® also helps guests instantly acclimate themselves to Edinburg by featuring great places to eat, play and live (explore).
The TownePlace Suites in Edinburg is located just eight miles from McAllen Miller International Airport and just minutes from downtown. The new hotel offers guests convenient access to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and the Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley.
The TownePlace Suites in Edinburg allows guests to maintain a healthy lifestyle with an array of food options. While on property guests can create their own complimentary hot breakfast every morning in the lobby area, and can fire up their stay by grilling up dinner on our outdoor Weber grills. The 24-hour In a Pinch® market and On Us® coffee service offer guests the chance to get their snack and caffeine whenever they feel the need. The full kitchen and refrigerator allow guests to cook their own food, or save their leftovers after eating out.
TownePlace Suites helps its guests stay organized on the road with the help of our partners the Container Store. While staying at the TownePlace Suites in Edinburg, travelers can unpack their suitcase in a custom elfa® closet. From drawers to shelves to smart hanging space, guests will find everything they need to make them feel right at home.
Other hotel amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, an exercise room open 24 hours per day, laundry facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and on-site business services, including copying, faxing and printing.
As a brand TownePlace Suites recognizes that a family may include more than just humans, that is why the TownePlace Suites in Edinburg is pet-friendly (fees may apply).