BOLIVAR LOCAL BUSINESSMAN MAKES PLANS TO ADD HOTEL
Bolivar's Vineyard Square could soon be home to a new hotel as one local businessman looks to expand the city's lodging options.
Thane Kifer, who also serves as an alderman for Bolivar's ward 3, recently partnered with Growth Services Group to determine the feasibility of a new hotel in Bolivar, according to a press release from Vineyard Properties.
"Given the choice of many potential site options, including sites on Mo. 13 and others more centrally located in town, the firm identified the Vineyard Square development near the intersection of Boston Street and Aldrich Road as the optimal location due to its convenient proximity to local restaurants and entertainment," the press release said.
Kifer told the BH-FP Tuesday he plans to construct a hotel on land north of Aldi off Boston Street. He said he began planning this project more than six months ago.
"Gone are the days where travelers choose a hotel based on whether they can see it from the highway," Kifer said in the press release. "Today's travelers book their hotels online or on their smartphones, and they look for locations that are convenient to their destinations. Having a well-known branded hotel at a site near Bolivar's restaurants and within its business district is what will draw people to stay in Bolivar, spending their time and money at nearby local establishments."
The most enlightening part of the market analysis performed by Growth Services Group, Kifer said Tuesday, was the preferred location of the hotel being near local eateries and businesses as opposed to an area off the highway.
According to the study, the occupancy rate for Bolivar area hotels has been steadily increasing over the past five years, while demand has increased nearly 25 percent. The supply of hotel rooms has remained steady, the press release said.
"There are only 140 hotel rooms in Bolivar," Kifer said. "With a university of about 3,500 students, a booming business community and over 31,000 permanent residents in Polk County, there is ample opportunity to serve them, their family, friends and business partners. "We just have to build a hotel that is in the right spot, with the right amenities."
According to the press release, Kifer's hotel plans would include a pool, fitness center and possibly a banquet facility. Kifer said Tuesday there is no estimated time for the project to be underway or completed.
"We are in advanced talks with investors and hoteliers with a proven track record in the hospitality industry," Kifer said in the press release. "I am excited to help grow my hometown by adding jobs and enabling more visitors to experience the town we all know and love. It's just the right thing to do."
Growth Services Group's study also concluded that, "A mid-level to upper mid-level hotel would be ideal and provide the amenities to meet the community's needs. This type of hotel would be well received and provide a new tier to effectively draw guests back to Bolivar from the nearby Springfield market ... A new hotel development would assist the city, local merchants and restaurateurs with recapturing lost hotel stays and subsequent guest spending by redirecting that economic impact back to the community."
Kifer said other projects are planned for the area, including possible lofts above a 9,000-square-foot retail facility.