With the opening of Colton’s Steak House in June now behind him, one White Hall investor is turning his attention to the construction of a $10 million-plus TownePlace Suites by Marriott.
It’s Umesh “U.E.” Patel’s second White Hall extended stay hotel and will be located on Sheridan Road, just west of the Smart Motors complex and just off Interstate 530.
While some of the site work is underway and the designs are completed, he said, construction will not start until January.
The planned TownePlace will be four stories with 80 rooms with kitchens, and “designed for longer stays,” Patel said.
It should be completed in about 14 months. He said he expects most of his bookings to be visiting people who are working with local businesses.
Patel’s existing commercial investments, soon to number four, are already a driving force of development in the Sheridan Road area of White Hall, and he believes in its future potential with the widening of the busy roadway.
With this in mind, he opened a Dairy Queen in 2015 and then a Holiday Inn Express about three years later. Both are on Sheridan Road.
“Umesh and his family have invested a lot of money and time into our community,” White Hall Mayor Noel Foster said.
Patel’s businesses have done so well that he decided to invest in a Colton’s Steak House franchise. It opened this summer and draws from I-530 travelers and people from White Hall, Pine Bluff, Redfield, and even places like Dumas and Monticello.
Like his Dairy Queen restaurant, his family style dine-in eatery is proving a success, and Patel said he has plans to open two additional chain restaurants in White Hall in the future.
The mayor confirmed the additional restaurants.
“It just takes time with franchise acquisition, land acquisition, finance and then construction,” Foster said.
For now, Patel’s keeping the restaurant names under wraps, but he added, “I will make an announcement after the election and after construction starts (on the Marriott).”
BEFORE HE INVESTS
Prior to opening a new commercial enterprise, Patel studies two aspects of a town that he considers vital to his success.
He studies the school system and its crime rates.
The White Hall School District ranks in the top 100 Best School Districts in Arkansas and the FBI states crime rates for the city are about 30 percent lower than the national average and almost 50 percent lower than Arkansas’ average crime rates.
He opened his first Subway in Dumas in 1999, shortly after arriving in this country from India.
“I pay attention to the larger picture,” Patel said.
As well, he said, “I believe in being respectful. I pay attention to the small details.”
He said he looks at various aspects of a potential restaurant endeavor, from the type of food served to the uniforms the wait staff would wear.
For example, Hooters restaurant, with its skimpy uniforms, wouldn’t fit in well in the White Hall community, he said.
“(Patel) is very cognitive that the