Local lodging demand booming

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Natural gas industry employees flowing into the Upper Ohio Valley creates demand for new short-term lodging options, such as the new 85-room hotel being built next to the Hampton Inn.

“There is a great demand in the market now because of the oil and gas industry — no question,” said Chris A. Chesebrough, vice president hospitality operations for Wheeling-based Century Management. This group owns and operates the St. Clairsville Hampton, as well as the adjacent project — branded as a Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham — that is set to open early next year.

“Our business at the Hampton has been very strong,” Chesebrough said noting the drillers, frackers and pipeliners are a major part of this demand.

The Hampton facility has serviced the St. Clairsville area for many years, dating back to its days as a Sheraton property. The facility stands prominently on the hill above Interstate 70, overlooking the Ohio Valley Mall area. Now the long-standing structure will be joined by an adjacent hotel.

“We will just extend the road from the Hampton to lead down over there,” Chesebrough said, noting his company is also planning to build a small recreation area between the two hotels.

Every room will have connections to The Internet, 42-inch flat-screen TVs, iPod radio connections, microwaves and refrigerators. Guests may enjoy a daily deluxe continental breakfast, Chesebrough said.

Along with the temporary construction jobs the hotel is bringing to St. Clairsville, Chesebrough said his company will hire about 20 more employees to work at the hotel.

In addition to the new St. Clairsville Microtel, there is a new 55-room Comfort Inn under construction between St. Clairsville and Blaine on National Road. There is also another extended-stay hotel in the works to be built in the Woodsdale area of Wheeling, near the standing SpringHill Suites.

There is also the 83-room Microtel Inn & Suites that recently opened at The Highlands, which Chesebrough’s group also owns.

“Our St. Clairsville project will be very similar to the one at The Highlands,” he said.

In addition to the new hotels, there are also campsites for recreational vehicles sprouting up all over the area — from Paden City to Valley Grove to Belmont County — for the purpose of accommodating the out-of-state workers.

Though he could not comment on any future projects, Chesebrough said his company stands ready to build new hotels when the demand is there.

“We are glad to be part of the community. We hope to help the community grow and continue to evaluate our opportunities,” he said.