A new hotel chain is coming to Ketchikan, with construction expected to start – and finish – this year. And it’s not just Alaska’s First City; the franchise is expanding into Anchorage and Fairbanks, as well.
My Place Hotels is an extended-stay franchise that just recently entered the Pacific Northwest market with two new hotels in Washington State. And now, three new hotels are planned in Alaska, says Joe Dinger, vice president of development for Pacific Northwest My Place Hotels.
“We are going to be concurrently going to be building Anchorage, Ketchikan and Fairbanks, all this spring,” he said in a telephone interview last week.
Dinger says that while most hotels take more than a year to build, the simplified model that My Place has come up with takes much less time. He expects to open the Alaska hotels for business this fall or winter.
Dinger says the franchise partners became interested in the Alaska market – and Ketchikan in particular — in part because one of the partners has a different kind of interest in the state.
“Ron Rivett has a residence just outside of Sitka and spends a lot of time up and down Southeast Alaska fishing, and he really likes Ketchikan,” Dinger said. “And with the heavy influx of cruise ship business throughout the spring, summer and early fall seasons, and to go with that, there’s also demand for lodging that does not just fall to the tourists.”
Rivett was co-founder of the Super 8 motel chain, which started in the early 1990s.
Dinger specified how Ketchikan’s non-tourist industry opportunities indicate that the extended-stay business model will work here.
“We look at the hospital there with the big expansion that’s going on currently as a very nice partner with us for guests that are coming, and having an operation done or a procedure done and needing to stay for follow up or what have you,” he said. “With the heavy industrial shipping that’s basically across the street from us there.”
Vigor Alaska shipyard is a quick walk from the site, a now-empty lot on Tongass Avenue next to Alaskan and Proud grocery store.
Dinger says My Place will offer an economic option for people who want a little more than a standard hotel room. The hotel won’t have a pool or exercise room, but there will be a small kitchen in each unit. The chain’s hotels also are pet-friendly and offer laundry rooms and Internet.
The new hotel will have 64 rooms, and Dinger anticipates it will employ about 10 people once it’s up and running.
The My Place franchise currently has 15 hotels operating in seven states. They have plans to more than double the number of hotels, and expand the range to more than a dozen states.