Atul Patel to Open the 81-Room Fairfield Inn & Suites in Waterloo, Iowa

Offner, Jim. Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, September 15, 2014.

Business travelers stopping in Waterloo are about to get another option for lodging.

Next month, Atul Patel will open a new Marriott-franchised Fairfield Inn & Suites, an 81-room facility at 2134 La Porte Road, on a 2-acre lot between Crossroads Boulevard and La Porte Road just south of Bopp Street.

Patel has been busy in the area around Waterloo's biggest shopping mall. Exactly one year ago, he opened a new Choice Hotel-flagged Comfort Inn & Suites at 2011 La Porte Road, a renovation of the old Fairfield building Patel bought in 2013.

The new Fairfield -- one of the chain's newest designs, Patel said -- will feature primarily suites, as a way off accommodating business clients.

Patel also owns the Candlewood Suites, part of the Intercontinental Hotel Group, in the Crossroads area. Candlewood, an extended-stay facility, opened in 2007.

Patel owns four hotels in Waterloo and three in Cedar Falls, plus a handful of others across the Northeast Iowa.

"Each one has its own customer base," Patel said.

The new hotel will employ about 25 full- and part-time workers. Hiring was scheduled to get underway soon, said Waukon native Julie Haler, who will manage the new hotel.

"The great thing is we're going to be the only Marriott product around for 45 miles," Haler said. "It's definitely corporate-driven."

The new hotel will fill a void left by closure of the old Fairfield in January 2013, Haler said.

"We've heard from different people that because there's no other Marriott around here, they'll drive the extra 45 miles just to stay at another Marriott," said Haler, who had managed the Country Inn & Suites in Cedar Falls until about five years, when she got "out of the business."

Patel said the project will cost about $2.5million.

The new Fairfield will offer numerous improvements over the old.

"It's day and night difference," Patel said. "This new one came about a year and a half back and we were one of the first ones to grab onto this prototype. It's geared toward corporate standards. It's all about Wi-Fi. It's a Marriott product catering to people with Marriott Rewards. We're looking for many more customers."

Patel said the area around Crossroads is ideal for hotels to take root, and good for the area, as well.

"It's encouraging growth on both sides of La Porte and San Marnan (Drive)," he said. "We're trying to build on this side and hopefully see more south on La Porte Road. It's a corridor that's been sitting without any progress for a long time. Now, they're putting work into the entire corridor."

Main Street Builders of De Forest, Wis., is the lead contractor on the Fairfield facility, Patel said.