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Watching as the Statesboro hotel wars heat up
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            If the questions I receive are a decent gauge of readership interests, then clearly you all are focused on shopping and restaurants. But let me encourage you to take your eyes off of the prize for a moment, and look at what I consider to be a fun "battle" to watch - the "heated" up hotel market.

            The new Holiday Inn on the Veterans Memorial Parkway (i.e. the Statesboro Bypass) opened its doors this past June. The Springhill Suites, at the corner of the Veterans and Highway 67, is scheduled to open late summer, early fall.

            I assume most of you know about these two, but did you know that the Quality Inn (location of the original Holiday Inn) on South Main Street has been sold to a hospitality group with local ties, and major renovations are planned.

            Magnolia Hospitality owners Per Holtze and his father Christer Holtze recently purchased the hotel from the group that bought and renovated it just over a year ago. Per Holtze is married to the former Jessica Jones, daughter of Jarell and Joy Jones. Jarell Jones operated a law practice in Statesboro for a number of years. Now, he and his wife reside in St. Simons.

            Christer Holtze said he and his son considered a number of hotels before deciding  to purchase the Statesboro property.

            "We probably looked at 75 different hotels before settling on the Quality Inn," Holtze said. "This one attracted my attention when they (his son and daughter-in-law) got married. We missed it when it was auctioned off originally."

            Christer Holtze is a veteran of the hotel business. He owns 75 hotels in Brazil. This is his first foray into the hotel business in the United States.

            "I am very glad to be with my son in this venture," Holtze said. "Quality Inn is a Choice Hotel brand, and they understand the 'mid market' better than anyone."

            Per Holtze said plans are being finalized to do some additional renovation to the property.

            "We are going to add a ballroom which will hold 300 people are so," he said. "We intend to do some things to increase the curb appeal of the property, and we are going to make Manny's into a true sports bar with a real local sports bar appeal to it. We have some other plans, but these are things that we know we are going to do."

            Christer Holtze said he is very glad that his grandchildren will be in Statesboro.

            "I thought about where I would want my grandchildren to grow up when we looked at hotels," he said "Statesboro is a great place, and everything seems to have worked out. I couldn't be happier."