DANVILLE — A decade after losing the Ramada Inn franchise, the hotel now known as the Danville Inn and Convention Center will again become a national franchise hotel under the Motel 6 brand.
Owner Joe Patel said that on Wednesday the hotel will become a Motel 6 facility, following long-term renovations to the property. He's planning a grand-opening event that day at the hotel that sits on 10.18 acres at 388 Eastgate Drive, just off the Lynch Road exit of Interstate 74 on Danville's far east side.
Laura Rojo-Eddy, director of corporate communications with Motel 6, confirmed that the property will open as a Motel 6 next week.
Dean Savas, senior vice president of franchise for Motel 6, said he is delighted to welcome Patel as one of the newest franchisees.
"We currently have 25 Motel 6 locations in Illinois and are looking forward to further expansion in the region, in partnership with equally effective business owners," he said in an emailed statement Thursday.
For decades, the hotel had been a Ramada Inn property with an attached convention center and eventually became home to the local off-track-betting parlor.
But in 2003, the owner was leasing the facility to a management company that let the Ramada franchise agreement lapse, so the facility was renamed the Danville Inn and Convention Center. At that time, the more-than-120-room hotel had an indoor spa, a 500-person capacity banquet room, the off-track betting parlor, a restaurant and an airport shuttle.
By late 2003, the owner had the property up for auction. But bids stalled at $1 million, which was not enough to meet the minimum sale price set by the seller. The off-track betting parlor eventually closed, and in 2008, Patel bought the property.
Patel has continued to operate it as Danville Inn and Convention Center since 2008. But it wasn't until obtaining the agreement with Motel 6 that more extensive renovations began. He said they have renovated one building that has 40 rooms, and that will operate under the Motel 6 franchise. He said the renovations they made had to be to Motel 6 standards. Patel said if this arrangement goes well, then his business plan includes continuing to do renovations on the rest of the rooms and property, and possibly recruiting a restaurant back into the facility.
Jeanie Cooke, executive director of the Danville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, works closely with hotels and motels in the area as part of the bureau's tourism mission. She said the former Ramada property has struggled. It's an older hotel, she said, and has had turnover in its ownership.
"So we are happy to see it get some stability," said Cooke, who added that all the brands have certain standards and expectations that their properties must meet. "So we always like to see that in a hotel."