Courtyard by Marriott hotel to be built near airport

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held next week to celebrate the start of construction of a 119-room, 67,579-square-foot, 4-story Courtyard by Marriott hotel that is being built on a vacant four-acre lot at 4620 S. 5th St., located northeast of 5th Street and West Layton Avenue in Milwaukee, near Mitchell International Airport.
Construction of the hotel began recently and is expected to take about a year to complete.
The Courtyard by Marriott hotel will be managed by Jacksonville, Ill.-based Hospitality Specialists Inc. The principals of Hospitality Specials, John and Jim Mann, and other investors are members of the development entity for the project, GMF Hotel LLC.
The formal groundbreaking for the project will be held on Oct. 27.
The hotel will be built with the new prototype design for Courtyard by Marriott. The hotel’s amenities will include an indoor swimming pool, lobby bistro food service, a fitness center, a business center and meeting rooms.
Mitchell International Airport has reported 11 consecutive months of record passenger growth. In the first seven months of 2010, the airport served 5,713,942 passengers, an increase of 1.4 million (31.3 percent) over the same period in 2009.
As traffic has increased at Mitchell, several new hotels have been built near the airport in recent years. Earlier this year a 143-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel opened at 5890 S. Howell Ave. In 2009, a 100-room Candlewood suites hotel at 6440 S. 13th St. and a 120-room Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel at 6460 S. 13th St., opened in Oak Creek, and an 82-room Sleep Inn and Suites hotel opened at 4600 S. 6th St., Milwaukee.
Even more hotels are planned for the airport area. Illinois-based developer Syner G plans to build three hotels southeast of Howell Avenue and College Avenue in Oak Creek.
The developer for the Courtyard by Marriott project noticed that occupancy rates for hotels in the airport area are now in the “mid to upper 60s,” said Keith Osborne, chief operating officer for Hospitality Specialists.
Hotel development tends to occur in markets with an occupancy rate near 70 percent, said Greg Hanis, president of New Berlin-based Hospitality Marketers International Inc. “That’s usually the golden number everyone is looking for,” said Osborne.
Nationally hotel developers are starting to work on projects in markets with occupancy rates in the mid 60s in anticipation that occupancy in those markets will improve as the economy continues to recover, Hanis said.
There are no other Marriott hotels in the Mitchell Airport area and the developers thought the Courtyard by Marriott was a good fit for the area, Osborne said.
“We are very optimistic about the future of the area, the other commercial development in the area, and  a big one for us is that there is very little new product in the area and we will be the only Marriott branded property in the immediate airport area,” Osborne said. “Our market studies were very positive, proving our belief that it is the right time to get into this market.”
In recent years government and business officials have worked to take advantage of increased passenger traffic at Mitchell to promote the area around the airport as an aerotropolis, that serves as a transportation and development hub, by taking advantage of the airport, highways, Amtrak train service, and the Port of Milwaukee, all located within the airport area.

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