Old hotel reopens after $22 million renovation

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The welcome mat is out in Whitehaven after $22 million was spent to renovate and renew a rundown airport hotel that sits in one of the city’s most blighted areas.

As people touch down in the land of the Delta Blues, their first impression is a little rough.

“Memphis used to be known for music and blues and things, so it’s kinda sad to me,” tourist Bruce Jenkins said.

Vacant hotels and rental car lots show a once thriving airport community gone…but maybe not for good.

“We are looking to bring the business back and increase it even more,” general manager Jose Gallego said.

Gallego’s on a mission. He moves fast, and you may not catch his every word, but it’s hard to miss this – $22 million spent to turn a rundown, no-name hotel into one of the city’s best. And it’s personal – he ran the place in its hayday back in the ’90s.

“I know the potential, and I know the area has some challenges,” he said. “We can bring a lot to the community.”

More than 200 rooms, the second largest convention space in the city, the fastest WiFi, and a fitness center bigger than anything in town, with the airport and bus terminal, it’s like a gem in this shuttered area.

“This is kinda where I was born and raised around here, I love it. Glad they brought the building back in,” Memphis resident Tommy Harper said.

Gallego’s daughter was born in Memphis, his hotel career grew here, and now, even though everyone calls him crazy for leaving the big time in Chicago, he’s here. He hired his former employees, and is looking to see this area take off once more.

“My company said, ‘You’re crazy.’ I said, we want to go back and we want to be proud and show we care,” Gallego said.

12 comments

  • Dr. JohnS

    If ever there was a place (well there are many in Memphis) that needed to be revitalized this is one area that gets the visitors attention. Thank you for your effort and I hope it pays off big time for you.

  • Hawk. Jr

    I believe if Jesus said himself that he loves Memphis, some people would find a way to be negative. George and Dr. Johns are just some people who doesn’t care about anything.

    • Dr. JohnS

      I really think you need to re-read my post, I was not negative about it. I was just the opposite, I am glad they are revitalizing the area. With visitors that is the area they first see.

  • birdie

    I bet the taxpayers got screwed and one of the h omeboys got rich. This city is a complete joke and the voters electing the people are so stupid and Wharton is the biggest crook.

  • huggie pacino

    Where do I start?
    Ok number 1
    The roughest hoods are around the corner.
    Carjackers and thief’s roam the entire block of hotels. And unless you have top notch security at this place with at least 4 officers, its a waste of money. I work for allied Barton security services…2 years ago we had this hotel for our accounts….my first day out there “my” car was broken into and I had a dvd car radio stolen. So I switched up and started patrolling in my vehicle. The original orders were to stand in front and patrol on a slow golf cart but that didn’t help at all. Once I patrolled in my vehicle, I was able to keep an eye out. Police never shows up to help on time. But within 3 months of having the account….THEY REFUSED TO PAY FOR OUR SERVICES! so this 22million better be put to use or it will be back to memphis airport inn again.

  • huggie pacino

    Where do I start?
    Ok number 1
    The roughest hoods are around the corner.
    Carjackers and thief’s roam the entire block of hotels. And unless you have top notch security at this place with at least 4 officers, its a waste of money. I work for allied Barton security services. 2 years ago we had this hotel for our accounts,my first day out there “my” car was broken into and I had a dvd car radio stolen. So I switched up and started patrolling in my vehicle. The original orders were to stand in front and patrol on a slow golf cart but that didn’t help at all. Once I patrolled in my vehicle, I was able to keep an eye out. Police never shows up to help on time. But within 3 months of having the account,THEY REFUSED TO PAY FOR OUR SERVICES! so this 22million better be put to use or it will be back to memphis airport inn again.

  • Daisy Day

    What is the name of the hotel? The picture showed a hotel branded Holiday Inn but it was never mentioned in the story and the location was omitted. All we know is that it is in Whitehaven near the airport. Is this the old Hilton Hotel on Democrat????

Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 10,800 other followers