A Days Inn hotel on Baltimore National Pike in Catonsville destroyed by an electrical fire during the renovation of an elevator in 2011 reopened its doors Aug. 7 as a Holiday Inn Express & Suites hotel.
Dozens of community leaders, residents and politicians packed into the freshly painted lobby of the hotel located at 5701 Baltimore National Pike on Tuesday, Sept. 9 to celebrate the opening.
"After the fire we completely gutted the property and the only thing standing is the shell," said Sangita Patel, who has owned the hotel with her husband Yeswant Patel for 18 years. The couple, who live down the street from the building, purchased the hotel when it was a Howard Johnson.
Since then it has undergone many changes. It later became a Best Inn & Suites and was rebranded as a Days Inn in 2003.
The owners declined to release the cost of the renovations, saying they are still determining the figures, but said they spent millions to rebuild the hotel. Everything from wiring, to the roof to the walls is brand new, said John R. Davenport, general manager of the hotel.
The new building has 135 rooms, 23 suites, a meeting space and a breakfast area, Davenport said.
The hotel rehired between 30 and 35 of the former Days Inn employees, said Yeswant Patel.
Upgrading the hotel to a Holiday Inn after the fire made financial sense and they expect it will do well in the area, Patel said.
Among the crowd was Councilman Tom Quirk, who represents Catonsville, Arbutus and Lansdowne.
"The renovations look great and I think we need better hotels in Catonsville," Quirk said. "So it's good to see this come in and I think it will be well received by the community."
Quirk said the hotel is one of many recent projects underway on the road such as a new patient-centered medical home to be built in the 40 West Plaza at 6501 Baltimore National Pike.
"It's a sign that Catonsville is alive and well and we're clearly seeing a lot of investment," Quirk said.
Sally Griffin, president of the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce, said the newly renovated building is a major upgrade from the Days Inn.
"We haven't had a hotel in Catonsville of this caliber ever," Griffin said. "Most of the people that I know recommend hotels down by the airport, so it's nice to have a hotel nearby where people can feel comfortable and where you can have friends and family stay."
Grace Strawder, president of the West Edmondale Community Association, said she sees the building as a meeting place for members of the community.
"I think it will be a good place for community meetings and different events," Strawder said. "If you want to go someplace after church to have brunch, this will be a nice place to do that, rather than traveling all the way downtown."