Building of modular hotels appears to be growing

April 07, 1991|By Cox News Service

The world may seem awash in hotels, but a few with new wrinkles are still starting up.

In Columbia, Md., the Courtyard by Marriott is rising -- not brick by brick -- but room by room.

The $10 million hotel, being assembled with 152 factory-built guest rooms, will be the first steel-frame, midrise modular hotel in the United States.

It went from foundation to four stories in less than three weeks, compared with at least twice that long if it were conventional construction.

Marriott Corp. is trying modular construction as an experiment in saving time and money.

Marriott already uses modules in construction of Fairfield Inns, its budget chain.

In Manchester, Vt., a subsidiary of Guinness, the British brewer, plans to create "the best resort property in New England" by renovating the 137-year-old Equinox Hotel, a financially troubled but majestic 144-room inn.

It will spend about $20 million on the hotel and the 1,100-acre grounds that include a golf course, gardens and a mountainside pond -- the first of several real estate ventures to be proposed by Guinness in the United States.

Across the continent in Berkeley, Calif., an SRO -- single-room-occupancy -- hotel will go up on the edge of downtown, the first such hotel to be built in northern California in more than 40 years.

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