Holiday Inn Express opens for business in Minden

Despite some setbacks, the Holiday Inn Express in Minden has forged ahead and is opening for business today.

"Right now, in this economy, a new business opening in any city is a good thing," said owner Jaswinder Singh Dhami.

On May 13, Dhami, sales manager Mark Wright and construction manager Allyson Kellogg gave a tour of the hotel. A floor of white tile, inlaid with granite, led the way to a multi-pillared, high-ceilinged lobby where couches and chairs, still in their plastic wrapping, lay stacked against an imperial fireplace. Around the base of the pillars was mahogany-stained wainscoting, the pillars themselves reaching up into a coffered ceiling studded with chandeliers and edged with dark crown molding. To the west, a series of tall windows afforded views of the Carson Range.

"IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group) said this is one of the most beautiful hotels in the group," Dhami said. "Our representative is recommending us for an award, based on quality and timing of the construction."

The 3-story, 81-room hotel, which stands near the intersection of highways 395 and 88, has taken roughly eight months to complete. Kellogg, of Metcalf Builders, said eight and a half months were allotted for construction.

"This was another great project for Metcalf Builders," she said.

Dhami agreed. He and his father, Malkiat Singh Dhami, started their hotel business in Carson City in 1996. Besides the Minden location, they own Holiday Inns in Carson City, Reno and Winnemuca.

But although the Minden hotel has finished on time, the process hasn't been without complications.

Last summer, the Dhamis bought the parcel from developers of the Minden Gateway Center, who garnered zoning for a large commercial mall on the 11 or so acres behind the hotel.

However, the Minden Gateway Center recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, leaving much infrastructure on the greater site unfinished.

"We and the Minden Gateway Center are two different entities," Dhami said. "But we've paid a price for some of the improvements that the Minden Gateway was supposed to finish."

Dhami said so far, that price totals about $200,000 in improvements, including utility work, lighting, landscaping, a directional median for the hotel's main access, between Arby's and AMPM, and some striping.

"We have suffered because of this," said Dhami. "But the town and county have been very supportive."

Douglas County Engineer Mahmood Azad said it's unfair to punish the Holiday Inn for the Minden Gateway's shortcoming.

"It's somewhat incorrect to hold a business owner hostage for what a developer neglected to do," he said.

On Tuesday, the county issued the hotel a temporary certificate of occupancy, which gives Dhami about 90 days to figure out what other work, if any, is his responsibility.

Whatever obstacles remain in terms of infrastructure, the finished product itself is still impressive: 20 suites, an indoor pool and spa, a fitness center, a guest laundry room, a 47-person conference room and a honeymoon suite with a separate spa. Each room boasts a 32-inch LCD TV, along with an ergonomic chair and other amenities, and the hotel is equipped with complimentary wireless and wired Internet. A free buffet breakfast is also offered to guests each morning.

"Things are already happening," said Wright. "The chamber has already booked an event for the conference room."

"There is also good demand from weddings and youth sporting activities," added Dhami. "There are a lot of weddings in Genoa over the summer."

However, the only way to really test a market, Dhami said, is to open the doors.

"In three to sixth months, we'll know," he said. "We'll see if the phones are ringing, and if people are walking in."

For information about the hotel, call 782-7500.


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