The landscape of downtown Williamsport is forever changing, and with the opening this past week of the Residence Inn Marriott, the city will be able to accommodate more visitors.
"I think this is an absolute beautiful addition to Williamsport," said Lycoming County Commissioner Ernest Larson, as he and other community leaders gathered for ribbon-cutting ceremonies Wednesday.
Larson said the hotel at 150 W. Church St. is a much-needed, modern facility that will lodge people coming to Williamsport for Little League and other purposes.
CRAIG S. McKIBBEN JR/Sun-Gazette
This photograph, taken Wednesday afternoon just prior to the grand opening of the Residence Inn Williamsport, shows the entrance to the front lobby at right and the courtyard between wings of the hotel.
The 97-room, four-floor hotel located next to Kohl's also represents economic development for the city, according to Williamsport Mayor Gabriel J. Campana.
The mayor thanked developer George Tsunis, who was reportedly out of the country and not at the ceremony, for making the project happen.
"It adds economic development and jobs to the city," he said.
The hotel, a $11.4 million project, offers first-class accommodations, noted Lycoming County Commissioner Jeff Wheeland.
"It's a great asset to Lycoming County," he said.
Jennifer Locey, vice president of operations for Chartwell Hotels, the hotel's management company, said the building was designed for long-term guests.
It includes a fitness room, a pool, laundry facilities, a full breakfast area, and a meeting room.
She said the rooms are much bigger than most hotel rooms.
"Our suites have full kitchens," said hotel general manager Holly Kremser.
Tsunis commented last year that while most hotels tend to be "lower to middle end," the new Marriott would be a "high end hotel."
Phones already were "ringing off the hook" Wednesday from people looking to stay at the hotel.
Chartwell Hotels President Rob McCarthy said 20 to 25 hospitality personnel will work at the new Marriott.
"We're proud to be growing jobs in Williamsport," he said.
The hotel is within easy walking distance of many downtown restaurants and stores.
Bounded on the north by West Fourth Street, it is located less than a block from Wegman's supermarket to the west and a block from the county courthouse to the east.
It represents yet another hotel addition to the city.
"It makes Williamsport look better and better as each day goes by," Larson said.
Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Vincent J. Matteo said the hotel is another building block for local economic revitalization.
"There's a lot more to come," said Matteo. "We appreciate the investment."