EIDC talks with WI hotel chain

Olney Industrial Development Corporation (OIDC) executive director Wiley Hughey said the OIDC is considering plans to construct a hotel on the site of the Olney Savings and Loan building at the intersection of Main Street and State Highway 79.

Mr. Hughey said he has had discussions with Wisconsin-based Cobblestone Hotels which specializes in smaller towns and has shown a keen interest in Olney. “They’ve been here several times and they’re very interested,” he said. Cobblestone has built motels in Andrews, Big Lake, Kermit, Winter, and Pecos and is exploring a site in Henrietta, he said. The company’s motto is “Big City Quality, Small Town Values.”

To attract a motel, the OIDC will have to commission a feasibility study, which is expected to take around six months to complete, he said. The study will assess the viability of a hotel in Olney, considering factors such as market demand, competition, and financial projections for the area.

The OIDC also is exploring the cost of demolishing the Olney Savings and Loan building to make way for a new business, and could use its sales tax-based funding to do so, he said. A demolition firm estimated the expense at $93,000 in 2013, with the main cost being the transportation of materials to Wichita Falls for disposal, he said.

Mr. Hughey said a new hotel could serve as a catalyst for economic growth and tourism in Olney, providing much-needed accommodation for visitors to Air Tractor and Tower Extrusions and supporting local events like Olney in America, which face challenges in providing accommodation for participants and food vendors.