Carrie Rengers

Holiday Inn Express to be built in Maize

Maize has landed its second hotel deal. On Wednesday, developer Marv Schellenberg and the city of Maize announced plans for a new Holiday Inn Express Hotel , which will be at Schellenberg's Hampton Lakes development at the northwest corner of 37th and Maize.

Maize Hotel LLC is building the $2.5 million hotel, which will have three stories and 73 rooms and is scheduled to open in April 2011.

"This will just continue to solidify that even though we have a weak economy, Maize's economy is still growing and strong," says Rebecca Bouska , Maize's deputy city administrator.

"We are getting ready to grow pretty quickly, I think, over the next 10 years."

The hotel is adjacent to the proposed Northwest Bypass.

The Maize Hotel partners, including Mitesh Patel and Raju Sheth , also built the Hampton Inn in Derby. Sheth is still involved there.

The Holiday Inn Express would be the first hotel to be built in Maize's 124-year history.

"There's really just nothing on the northwest side as far as hotels go," Schellenberg says.

A second hotel, an 84-room Fairfield Inn and Suites , is still pending.

Maize administrator Richard LaMunyon says the deal is likely to happen down the road.

"That developer is optimistic that he will start on that a year from now."

Schellenberg is optimistic about what the Holiday Inn Express means for his 140-acre Hampton Lakes, which includes an almost-completed residential area, a retail center, an office park and a future medical park.

"It'll just create more synergy... more momentum," he says. "Everybody wants to be around each other."

With the hotel, Schellenberg says, "Now it makes more sense to have a restaurant come."

He says all new deals, such as the just-announced Menards that's coming to the Stonebridge development on the southeast corner, are significant for the area.

"Every new thing that comes up is just a positive thing.... It feeds on itself."

Rosy props

Normally when a real estate deal happens, developers want recognition, or the people bringing a new business want attention.

In the case of the Holiday Inn Express, hotel partner Raju Sheth would like Rose Hill Bank to get some props.

Sheth says Rose Hill, which bills itself as "the hungry little bank," gave Maize Hotel LLC a mortgage when no one else would.

"Even with good financial statements from everybody, banks are not even interested in looking at a hotel."

Sheth says he and his partners have more than 30 percent equity in the project.

"And still nobody was interested," he says.

"That's why the economy's not going anywhere. Nobody wants to lend money."

Not so Cheap

The likely replacement for Bret Michaels as the May 7 Wichita River Festival headliner is a band that wants you to want them.

Cheap Trick had until 5 p.m. Wednesday to accept an offer from Wichita Festivals Inc.

Apparently, that deadline has been extended and negotiations are ongoing.

Michaels is unable to perform after being hospitalized last week following a brain hemorrhage.

A source says Cheap Trick will cost more than Michaels.

There's also a Plan C in the works, but it sounds like Cheap Trick is likely to work out.

Pizza problems

The Kansas Department of Revenue has filed a tax warrant against restaurateur John Giroux for almost $27,000, much of which he says is penalties and interest.

Giroux owns two Geno & John's Pizzas locations, but that's not what he owes money for.

It's for a Knolla's Pizza Giroux used to own near Harry and Webb, which is where one of his Geno & John's is now.

Late last year, Giroux and Pat Knolla cut ties.

The Department of Revenue is working with Giroux on a repayment plan.

"Business in the last year has been pretty difficult," Giroux says. "I do everything I can to try and hold on."

The economy has forced him to slash pizza prices, but Giroux says his costs are still the same.

A couple of months ago, he opened a second Geno & John's at 7603 W. 21st St.

"Here I go," Giroux says, "another store, not really making it."

He's not giving up, though.

"I'm a hard worker," Giroux says. "I keep battling it. I battle for the product. I think I've got a great product."

You don't say

"It was an affirmation of what a great big family we are."

Ravi Pendse , WSU associate provost and chief information officer, on how polite and appreciative everyone (including those who complained) was when the school's computer systems crashed Tuesday night and took till Wednesday to completely fix