More construction delays announced for New Bern hotel

The opening of the new Holiday Inn Express & Suites being built on Newman Road has been pushed back another six months.

The planned opening for the new Holiday Inn Express & Suites under construction behind the New Bern Mall has been pushed back until next summer, according to the developer.

The change marks the third time the opening date for the new hotel on Newman Road has been extended.

When contacted Wednesday for comment, Vimal Kolappa, CEO of East Coast Hospitality, said due to a number of delays it would likely be another six months before the hotel is ready to open. Kolappa pointed to supply chain issues and labor shortage problems as the prime reasons why work on the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, which was originally scheduled to open in December 2021, had been delayed.

In September 2022, Kolappa said that original opening date had been pushed to the spring of 2023. But in April, Kolappa told New Bern Now that supply and labor challenges had forced East Coast Hospitality to delay the opening again until at October 2023.

While initial estimates called for a price tag of $15 million, the construction cost for the hotel has now risen to $20 million, he said.

“If people don’t want to work, what do we do? It’s very difficult to find people to work these days. And then with the problems getting supplies, it’s very hard,” Kolappa said at the time.

During Wednesday’s interview, Kolappa said approximately 70% of the work has been completed on the hotel. He said inspections have been completed for the first three floors and the majority of the building’s electrical, plumbing and insulation work has been done.

According to Kolappa, the new Holiday Inn Express & Suites will feature 100 rooms, 22 of which will be suites. He said it will also come equipped with a unique HVAC system that will regulate humidity levels by pumping in fresh air through two units on the roof, which will then be heated or cooled and circulated through the building.

According to Craven County GIS, the 2.82-acre property where the hotel is being built has a total assessed value of $2 million. It was purchased in 2019 by Baby Appa, LLC for $550,000. In 2020 it was transferred to Ayappan LLC, which has the same mailing address as East Coast Hospitality.

The Washington, NC based East Coast Hospitality owns 18 hotels, 15 of those in North Carolina. The company owns both the Comfort Inn and the Holiday Inn Express in Havelock.

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites is the first new hotel in New Bern to be built since the SpringHill Suites by Marriott in 2008.

By Todd Wetherington, co-editor. Send an email with questions or comments.