Crews are working to clear the site of the former On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina at Citiplace where a new Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel will be built later this year.
The former Mexican eatery was demolished last week, and hotel operator Ricky Patel, with Divi Hospitality, expects a 14-month construction timeline to start by early April for the roughly $12 million project.
Patel is shooting for a late 2020 opening for the 117-room hotel, which will be the third he owns in the Baton Rouge area. Patel Construction is the contractor for the hotel. Home2 Suites will be located next to the 119-room Tru by Hilton that recently opened in Citiplace.
The Capital Region has seen significant growth in its hotel market over the past five years. While Baton Rouge’s market has grown 20% since 2013 with 12 new properties opening, neighboring Ascension Parish’s hotel market has spiked 55%.
“The demand is still there for the right product,” Patel says, adding he wanted to build in Citiplace because of its proximity to Interstate 10, area hospitals and corporate offices. “A lot of stuff around (Citiplace) is outdated and old. With the right management, the demand is there.”
Patel has a “couple of projects” in the pipeline for the Capital Region, but says he can’t discuss them until they’re confirmed.
Patel garnered approval from the Planning Commission in November for the five-story, 77,000-square-foot hotel that will create “a few hundred” temporary jobs during construction and between 20 and 30 permanent jobs once open. Doing business as OM of Baton Rouge LLC, Patel bought the property for $10 cash and “other good and valuable consideration” in late December.