New hotel primed to open - really

Published September 18, 2006

Downtown Tampa's newest hotel was supposed to be ready for the big Shriners convention in July. Then the September opening date came and went.

Now, the 360-suite hotel with the extra-long name - Embassy Suites Tampa-Downtown-Convention Center - is taking reservations starting Oct. 9. Material and labor shortages caused "shifts in the (opening) dates," said Richard Parks, vice president of developer and owner, WPM Construction of Merrillville, Ind.

The hotel needs final inspections, but the city is allowing temporary use of offices, the laundry and meeting rooms, Parks said.

No one will be happier to see the hotel open than John Moors, administrator of the Tampa Convention Center, connected to the Embassy Suites by a bridge.

"We have three or four or five site visits (from groups) a week and if it's open, it's a much easier sell," he says.