By MARK MCGEE
In a few months a visitor will have an easier time finding a bed in Shelbyville.
Jasmin Patel, hotelier of the new Shelbyville Hampton Inn, was officially welcomed to Shelbyville with a reception at Traders Bank hosted by the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership.
Patel was accompanied by Pete Patel, an investor. The Hilton brand hotel is an $11 million project with four stories and 81 rooms planned.
“I looked at three of four sites,” Jasmin said. “We did a study and it came out really good with Shelbyville.”
This the third hotel Jasmin has developed. He has one in Manchester and another will soon open in Chattanooga. Jasmin said he has between 17 and 18 years in the hotel business.
“We will start breaking ground here at the end of May,” Jasmin said. “It will take about 18 months to build the hotel.”
There were a lot of moving parts as the project advanced from a potential possibility to a reality.
“We had been talking with Jasmin for approximately 18 months,” Shane Hooper, CEO/President of the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership said. “We talked to developers weekly. We wanted to make sure we had the correct developer.”
The Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership has a “wish” list that includes attracting a variety of new additions to the city and county.
“We have a targeted list of things we are looking to try to recruit and they are all things that are important to this community moving forward,” Hooper said. “One of them was a hotel.
“The first thing we had to do was find a hotel developer who had the capital to do what they said they were going to do. The second thing we needed was a person with the experience to do what they say they want to do. The third thing is someone with the capital reserves if things don’t go right from the beginning. We want them to have staying power.”
Hooper is confident Jasmin checks all of those boxes as the developer.
Hilton, the parent company of Hampton Inns, had the final say in the location of the hotel. Tad Craig of Craig and Wheeler Realty and Auction, accepted the challenge of finding an acceptable place.
“I don’t get to pick where the hotel goes,” Hooper said. “Corporate Hilton decided what properties they wanted to pick from. They told Jasmin where the hotel could be located.
“Tad had some listed property some of the property Hilton was interested in. He was very instrumental in helping this project come to fruition. He played a pivotal role in making this happen.”
Warren Wells, CEO of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, has been stressing the need for more hotel offerings locally.
“If we are going to move the Celebration where we want it to be where the shows are getting larger and larger, we needed this,” Wells said. “We want to attract shows with 600 horses or more. Typically, when you have an equestrian event for every horse you have there are three humans connected to it.
“We want to get these big events. The first thing they say is your town doesn’t have the hotels for us. Our people don’t want to drive 45 minutes to stay in decent hotel, so it has been a road block for us. This (Hampton Inn) is great for town and is definitely great for the Celebration as we try to attract more events. We are very excited about it.”
Selling the community is the key to bringing in new developments.
“When you are recruiting something like this it has to be a win-win,” Hooper said. “It has to be good for the community and it also has to be good for the developer.
“In talking to the developer we talk about what is great about Shelbyville and Bedford County and the reasons why they would want to be here. Talking to the developer about things that are going right here in Shelbyville and Bedford County were a key part in getting them to come here.”