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Trinity area to get its first hotel

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TRINITY — The fast-growing Trinity area is slated to get its first hotel: an 86-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites.

Saint Petersburg-based hotel developer Michael Holtz said he expects to close on a parcel at the intersection of State Road 54 and Corporate Center Drive, across from the West Pasco Industrial Park, as soon as the county issues permits for the $8 million hotel.

“Trinity is a strong, growing area with a brand new hospital,” Holtz said. “There are not enough hotels in the area now. There’s definitely a strong retail base and a lot of homebuilding going on, so that creates demand for things like weddings and graduations.”

Holtz said the hotel will be one of the first prototypes of a new, more upscale version of the Holiday Inn Express brand. It will feature 26 suites, a 24-hour business center, fitness center, pool and a meeting room that can accommodate 50 people.

Holtz’s MPH Hotels Inc. owns 16 branded hotels and has four more in development. The Trinity project would be his second property in Florida. He said Pasco County’s policy to set mobility fees at zero for new hotels factored heavily into his decision to locate on the S.R. 54 corridor.

“That only happens in Florida — those types of fees,” Holtz said. “By those being waived, it makes a deal like this in Trinity happen. Otherwise, we’d take our money and build a hotel somewhere else.”

Pasco Tourism Director Ed Caum said the county has a shortage of hotels — 2,400 traditional hotel rooms — for a population of nearly a half million people. Most of the county’s hotels are located on the U.S. 19 corridor, in Wesley Chapel or along U.S. 301. Most of the S.R. 54 corridor west of I-75 is underserved — it has just one other hotel, at the Suncoast Parkway.

“We need more rooms for tourists,” Caum said. “When people come here for sports tournaments, we lose a lot of that business to Hillsborough County and New Tampa because we just don’t have the rooms.”

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