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Group breaks ground on new hotel with occupancy rates down - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Group breaks ground on new hotel with occupancy rates down

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SHREVEPORT, La. -

More hotel rooms will be available in Bossier City next year. Kalthia Group Hotels broke ground Monday morning on a new Residence Inn. It will be located on Traffic Street, next to the Horseshoe Casino.

The $13.5 million project will create more than 130 extended stay rooms.

More than 650 brand new hotel rooms already opened this year—350+ at Margaritaville and almost 300 at the Hilton Garden Inn/ Homestead Suites.

And looking at the statistics, it might not be needed.

According to a study done by the state of Louisiana, the Shreveport- Bossier market sees a decrease in hotel occupancy from last year to this. The data says it's gone down about 7 percent, a fact the tourism bureau doesn't' refute.

"We're going through some growing pains," said Stacy Brown, director of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau. "We've added some new properties. The Haynesville Shale business moved out of town. So we're replacing that with additional business."

Back in July, 55.2 percent of the rooms in the Shreveport-Bossier market were booked. That's down from 62.2 percent last July.

Guest numbers are also down across the state, but only by a couple percentage points. (2013: 61.2 percent; 2012: 63.2 percent)

Mike Kalthia, Residence Inn owner, said he hopes a deal with the neighboring Horseshoe Casino will increase his odds of success

 "We're partnered with the [Horseshoe] hotel," said Kalthia. "They will fill up our hotel in the beginning so it will be a very fast ramp up process."

Both Kalthia and Brown agree the new hotel which will feature rooms with kitchens will fill a need in the area market.

"There are a lot of people coming for long term. There are a lot of corporate clients that want to stay for long term, the film industry. A lot of different industries will require an extended stay."

Brown believes the location of the new Residence Inn is perfectly placed between the Horseshoe and Margaritaville as well as the Boardwalk. She also thinks the proximity to I-20 is great.

They hope to have the building done in a little more than a year and have it opened in October 2014.

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