|Marriott to supply jobs, support business|
|Written by Melissa Castor, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Monday, 07 September 2009 18:47|
After almost three years, the new Marriott hotel will open this fall 2009 not only to its customers, but will also open jobs to the Bloomington-Normal and ISU community.
Although previous information claimed the hotel was behind schedule, General Manager Jeff Pritts said he was unaware of a delay. Officially, the hotel is set to open sometime in the fall of 2009. Tentatively, Pritts plans to be open by Oct. 14.
“I am so pleased with how far along this is … I’ve seen it change so much since May,” Pritts said.
Soon the hotel plans to begin the hiring process of its new staff of over 150 jobs.
Pritts said, “What we’re most proud of is we will supply the community with over 125 full-time and 50 to 75 part-time and on-call jobs.”
The hotel will also make the lives of students and their parents easier during parents’ weekend and graduation. According to Pritts, the hotel is already booked for the ISU parents’ weekend this coming fall. A couple dozen rooms are also already booked for the May graduation.
Michael Brantley, freshman forensic anthropology major said, “I think it would be good for families…who bring their kids down here.”
“I think its great being almost on campus. The business that ISU brings is great,” Pritts said.
The close proximity to ISU and the Watterson Towers dormitory has unfortunately caused the construction team some setbacks due to vandalism including the breaking of windows. But Pritts assured that it would not be a problem in the future.
“We’ve had vandalism. [But] when we open we will have 24-hour security. It will be a zero tolerance policy…The city is very determined to keep [vandalism] from happening,” Pritts said.
Students are also unsure about the affects of having the hotel so close to campus.
“I think it will cause more traffic…it’s bad how it is already,” Brantley said.
Despite the risk of close proximity with ISU, the Marriott has embraced its neighbor through some of its unique features. The hotel houses a grill called Jesse’s Grill after the founder of ISU Jesse Fell. This grill and the lobby area will provide customers with 24-hour Wi-Fi. Out of the two presidential suites, one was named after the University’s President, Al Bowman. The suite overlooks the campus.
The Marriott will also house a Starbucks, making it the closest one to the ISU campus.
Not only will the opening of the hotel benefit the community and students, but it will also support business in Uptown Normal. The hotel has already driven much business for Medici, Pritts said. The new Marriott is also connected with the Normal Theatre which will be available for use of guest speakers.
The central Illinois area also benefits from the new hotel. The hotel will be the only four-star hotel between Chicago and St. Louis. In addition it will have the largest hotel ballroom in central Illinois that will incorporate a state of the art sound system. It is also the first high rise to be built in central Illinois.
From an eco-friendly standpoint, the hotel will be a completely non-smoking area.
As of last Friday, the construction team began laying down carpet, which according to Pritts put them five days ahead of schedule. Pritts also expects mattresses to start coming in a week and a half.
Pritts said, “Carpet is great because you know when it goes in…you’re done.”
“I’m very proud of [the hotel] …CORE has done an outstanding job for us,” he said.