January 31, 2017 - Hospitality Development, Division of The Martens Companies, Release Plans for $14.5 Million Hotel in Lawrence, Kansas

$14.5 Million Hotel Set to Become First Tenant of The Mercato of West Lawrence


LAWRENCE, Kan. – Wichita-based Hospitality Development of America LLC plans to build a $14.5 million Best Western Plus® hotel and become the first tenant of The Mercato of West Lawrence, the mixed-use site being built by Lawrence developers Steve Schwada and Tim Fritzel adjacent to Rock Chalk Park, the new regional sports complex and home of KU Athletics. Construction on the four-story hotel is scheduled to start this summer. It is expected to open in early summer 2018 with approximately 120 rooms and suites


“We’re excited to be the lead-off tenant in this project,” said Steve Martens, CEO of The Martens Companies and its hotel development subsidiary, Hospitality Development of America. “In recent years, the Best Western Plus brand has leapt ahead of the competition, and Business Travel News recently named Best Western Plus the ‘Best Upper-Mid-Scale Hotel’ chain. Our properties emphasize upgraded guest amenities such as an indoor pool and expanded fitness center, as well as airy interior design concepts in the rooms and public spaces. The Best Western Plus Mercato is being designed specifically to accommodate travelers coming for athletic events or families with teens touring potential college locations,” said Martens.


Martens was recognized last fall as the 2016 Developer of the Year for Best Western Hotels & Resorts.


“Steve Martens and Hospitality Development of America have invested in multiple Best Western hotel projects, and they simply represent the best of the best,” said Ron Pohl, Senior Vice President and COO for Best Western Hotels & Resorts. “Their properties in Kansas and Oklahoma have been terrific additions to our portfolio. These hotels reflect the latest in architecture, design and technology our brand has to offer. I look forward to yet another award-winning venture at the Best Western Plus Mercato.”


A noted Midwest commercial real estate broker, Martens is a 1975 graduate of the University of Kansas and has enjoyed a life-long connection with Lawrence. His daughter also graduated from KU, and Martens is a past board member of the University of Kansas School of Medicine 4-Wichita.


“It’s truly a thrill to be working with Steve Schwada and Tim Fritzel in kicking off development at the Mercato,” Martens said. “It has been fun these past few years watching the dynamic and quality growth in West Lawrence.  We are truly excited to have this site under contract.”


Wichita-based Conco Construction is the general contractor for the hotel. Architectural design will be provided by Lance Adams, of Lawrence-based Adams Architects, and Wichita’s Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture. Landplan Engineering of Lawrence is handling site and engineering design for the project.


The Best Western Plus Mercato will be operated by the award-winning Hospitality Management LLC. The company manages four Best Western- and Choice Hotel-branded properties in Kansas and Oklahoma, including the new Best Western Plus Norman, which opened last summer near the University of Oklahoma campus.


Hospitality Management’s hotels have received numerous travel industry and brand honors. The prestigious M.K. Guertin Award – named for Best Western’s founder and bestowed for service, quality, value and commitment – was awarded to the Best Western Blackwell Inn in both 2015 and 2016, and to the Arkansas City Best Western Plus Patterson Park Inn in 2016.


Hospitality Development of America and Hospitality Management are two of six operating entities of The Martens Companies, which also includes NAI Martens, Martens Appraisal, Huffman Corridor Consulting LLC, and Receivership Services Corporation. For more information see www.martenscos.com/hospitality





Best Western® Hotels & Resorts, headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., is a privately held hotel brand with a global network of 4,100* hotels in more than 100* countries and territories worldwide. Best Western offers seven hotel brands to suit the needs of developers and guests in every market: Best Western®, Best Western Plus®, Best Western Premier®, Vib®, Executive Residency by Best Western®, BW Premier Collection® and Glo‚Ą†. Now celebrating 70 years of hospitality, best Western provides its hoteliers with global operational, sales and marketing support, and online and mobile booking capabilities.


More than 25 million travelers are members of the brand’s award-winning loyalty program Best Western Rewards®, one of the few programs in which members earn points that never expire and can be redeemed at any Best Western hotel worldwide.


Best Western continues to set industry records and accolades, including Business Travel News naming Best Western Plus as the best upper mid-price hotel chains, four consecutive Compuware Best of the Web gold awards for best hotel website and seven consecutive AAA/CAA Hotel Partner of the Year Awards. More than half of all Best Western branded hotels have earned a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award.


*Numbers are approximate, may fluctuate and include hotels currently in the development pipeline.

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