BELMONT -- Yet another new hotel will soon spring up to help service the influx of natural gas drillers and pipeliners, this time along Ohio 149 near Union Local Schools.
According to developer George Ballog, the Sleep Inn and Suites will have 63 rooms in at its location, near Valley Harley-Davidson and the Bel-Morr Market.
"There is some demand because of the oil and gas industry. Also, there is a lot of traffic at this exit," he said, noting his family has owned and operated the market since 1985.
In addition to the RV parks throughout the Upper Ohio Valley designed to accommodate oil and gas workers, several new hotels are opening in the area. The new 55-room Comfort Inn along National Road between St. Clairsville and Blaine is now open. Construction also continues at the new 85-room Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham, set to open adjacent to the Hampton Inn in St. Clairsville this year.
Ballog emphasized the Sleep Inn belongs to the same family of hotel chains as the Comfort Inn, as both are members of Choice Hotels International. Other brands in this chain of hotels include Quality, Clarion, Cambria and EconoLodge.
Ballog believes this will be the first hotel of this size to be built in the western half of Belmont County, as the other large facilities are located in and around St. Clairsville.
"We have some motels along National Road out this way, but this is a larger operation," he said.
Hoping to begin construction in July, Ballog wants to have the Sleep Inn up and running by early 2014. Though he said the facility will not initially include a swimming pool, he did not rule out such a future development.
We will offer a continental breakfast to our guests," he said.
Ballog is convinced his project will be successful, noting he has conducted traffic studies to determine the demand.
"There is a lot of (oil and gas) work going on to the north in Cadiz and Flushing, as well as to the south in Woodsfield, and to the west in Barnesville," he said. "As this continues, many of these people need to have a place to stay."
Ballog also said Exit 208 along Interstate 70 is about 30 miles east of Cambridge and about 20 miles from Wheeling, making his hotel a destination for those looking for something in between. He also may drum up some business from those visiting nearby Barkcamp State Park or the Jamboree In The Hills country music festival.
"We're excited, and we hope to hit the ground running," he added.