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Newport Travelodge to Be Replaced by A New Hotel

It occupies a prominent piece of real estate on the Newport riverfront -- but not for much longer.

The Travelodge hotel near the Taylor-Southgate Bridge will be razed and replaced by a new Hampton Inn. Construction could start at anytime as the developers have already been issued a permit by the City of Newport, city manager Tom Fromme told The River City News.

"The chance to get rid of a tired old hotel and put a new face on one of the main entrances into the city, I'm really happy to see that they are moving forward with their plans," Fromme said.

Those plans have been a few years in the making, he said. The owners of the Hampton Inn will be the same as the Travelodge, but Fromme said that he and the owners are optimistic that the new hotel won't be burdened with the criminal past of the current hotel.

"They are sincere and they realize that they need to change the image and the perception," Fromme said. "They are acutely aware of that and I think that's part of the reasoning why they want to change the brand of the hotel. I don't have any questions about whether they are going to be successful in the operations. They have a lot of money invested in this."

The Travelodge had garnered a poor reputation over the years, though work by the Newport Police and upgrades to the exterior helped change some of that. 

Newport has become a destination city for visitors to Newport on the Levee and the Newport Aquarium, but outside of the nearby Comfort Suites, had limited hotel rooms available for guests. Now there will be new hotels under construction on both sides of the Levee and Aquarium. Capital Investment Group and Musselman Hotels are working on an $80 million development called Aqua on the Levee that will feature a Starwood Aloft Hotel, the first of its kind in the region. Musselman also owned and operated the Comfort Suites but recently sold it.

Additional details about the forthcoming Hampton Inn were not readily available, but Fromme said that "a few years ago" plans were rejected because it was only three stories. Fromme said that the City wanted a more urban design and the current plans met those demands. The Hampton Inn will be six stories in height and will boast of 119 rooms. 

City Commissioner Frank Peluso said that the new hotel plans are more evidence of Newport's dramatic change over the years. "It's always nice to have another flag," Peluso said, a hotel term for brand names. "We're going to have two national flags in the city and I look forward to it."

"I think it's just what I always say: Things are happening in Newport," Fromme said. "We have a lot of interest in this city, a lot of visitors and the hotels, frankly, have been a weakness. Travelodge was not really a big attraction so we only have one hotel really, the Comfort Suites. We were lacking in quality hotel space and now we're going to have a large number of available rooms and I think they are going to be used up quite often."

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Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photos via Travelodge

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