Ground was blessed and broken for Pembroke’s new Holiday Inn Express on Friday, January 9.
It is a landmark event in the growth and development of the town and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
The project – a three-story, 63-room hotel – is owned by the First American Hotel Group, LLC, a group composed of mostly local investors. It is located on Pembroke’s fast-growing west side, just off N.C. 711 on Redmond Road.
Ground broken – From left: Chancellor Meadors, McDuffie Cummings, Larry Brooks, Greg Cummings, Larry McNeill, Dr. Robin Cummings, Alexis Locklear, Dr. Curt Locklear Jr., Dr. Jeff Collins, Jerry Stephens, Milton Hunt, Raymond Cummings, Roger Oxendine, Noah Woods and Aaron Thomas
Construction is expected to be finished in late September, said its general contractor Aaron Thomas, president of Metcon Construction of Pembroke.
Owners include Dr. Robin Cummings of Pinehurst, Dr. Jeff Collins of Pembroke, James Chavis of Lumberton, Johnny French of Blair Va., Jeff Jones of Pembroke, Dr. Curt Locklear of Pembroke and Theresa Tyler, originally from the Prospect community near Pembroke.
Speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony hailed the arrival of a hotel as a “tipping point,” a “cornerstone” and a “new phase” in the development of the community. Chancellor Allen C. Meadors spoke for the University.
“The changes in Pembroke over the last eight years are a marvel,” Chancellor Meadors said. “I believe we’ve turned a corner.
“Countless visitors to the University will stay here, including sports teams and parents,” he continued. “It is good economic news because this creates jobs in the construction phase and permanent jobs when it is completed.”
Besides local investors, the project has a local flavor. Lumbee Guaranty Bank of Pembroke is handling the financing, and attorney Grady Hunt of Locklear, Jacobs & Hunt of Pembroke is its legal counsel.
The hotel will be first class with meeting space for groups of more than 100, said Dr. Cummings, who spoke for the owners.
“Despite the economic downturn, I am proud that the investors have not waivered because they saw the need for a hotel in this community,” Dr. Cummings said. “We wanted a quality product with outstanding service, and that’s what we’ll have.”
Dr. Cummings said the hotel is franchised through Intercontinental Hotels Group, PLC, a global company that represents 4,100 hotels and seven of the top brands.
Dr. Cummings thanked the Town of Pembroke, UNCP and Chancellor Meadors for its active support of the project and Beth Wilkerson, associate director of UNCP’s Small Business and Technology Development Center, for assisting with business planning.
The project’s architect is Isom Hamm Design Group, P.A., of Wilkesboro, N.C., and the civil engineer is Anderson Engineering & Associates, P.A., of Lumberton, N.C.