Frontier Hospitality Group, one of the most veteran Quad-City hoteliers, showed it can do modern with "a splash of color" as it unveiled its new Holiday Inn Express in Moline on Wednesday.
With a crowd of almost 100 community and business leaders on hand, the Davenport hospitality company celebrated the opening of the $9 million hotel. Located at the Quad-City International Airport, its first guests stayed June 10 after a fast, nine-month construction schedule.
Bart Baker, co-owner of the hotel and Frontier — a company founded by his parents in the 1950s — said he and partner Dan Huber visited hotels in Dallas, Minneapolis, Kansas City and Chicago to find new concepts to incorporate in the project.
"We also were motivated by things we didn't like," he said. Out of those visits came ideas for a dynamic lobby and custom-designed great room with a modern decor.
"We wanted a hotel that residents and visitors of the Quad-Cities would be proud of," he told the crowd.
Huber, who joined the Baker family business eight years ago, said the location is a gateway in three ways from its proximity to Interstate 74, Interstate 280 and the Quad-City International Airport.
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"We wanted to make sure the product we put forth was state-of-the-art, and I think we did that in a significant way," he said.
He joked about how many times they heard the words "splash of color" as the hotel was being designed. Intercontinental Hotels Group, the parent company of Holiday Inn Express and other brands, ''provides guidelines and a prototype, and we embellished it," he added.
Decorated in colorful motifs, the hotel features a variety of seating areas in the great room, which Huber described as "much more of a living room and not just a breakfast room." The hotel also features an expanded fitness room, adjacent swimming pool, an outdoor patio, a spacious meeting room and other amenities.
Huber and Baker thanked all the parties that made the complicated project a reality from the airport and its governing board, to the governments of Moline and Rock Island County, the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce, Blackhawk State Bank and the builder, Russell Construction. The project fell under an IMPACT agreement involving local unions that created hundreds of construction jobs.
Bruce Carter, the airport's aviation director, said this gives the airport a total of 180 rooms with two hotels on site "which will be very helpful to the airport and the region." The project shows we are going to have more development in this part of town."
Carter said the airport now plans to begin marketing the vacant five acre-lot west of the hotel to attract a restaurant to serve the two hotels.