Raymondville hotel seeks grant or loan

RAYMONDVILLE — About a month before it’s set to open, owners of the Holiday Inn Express are asking for financial help.

Last week, a hotel representative asked the Raymondville Economic Development Corporation for a grant or loan to pay employee salaries, agency board member George Solis said yesterday.

Board members delayed any action.

“They want some help,” said Solis, who called the hotel “a $6 million investment.”

The hotel’s representative did not disclose the amount of money he was requesting, Raymondville City Manager Eleazar Garcia said.

Solis questioned the request’s timing.

Entrepreneurs tend to make funding requests at the onset of their projects, he said.

Catalina Ozuna, the EDC’s executive director, said the hotel’s representative was requesting “reimbursement for jobs created.”

Ozuna also questioned the request.

“The EDC can’t give you money unless you’re creating jobs,” she said.

The 75-room hotel, which has been under construction since January 2014, is expected to create about 10 jobs when it opens next month.

Solis said Willacy County’s economy has changed since construction began next to Raymondville Plaza

In March 2015, the 3,000-bed Willacy County Correctional Center shut down, laying off 400 employees.

Hotel owner V.J. Jhaveri could not be reached for comment.

Toward the start of construction, Jhaveri, who owns a Super 8 motel in Harlingen, planned to complete construction on the hotel in about 10 months.

At that time, Jhaveri said he planned to offer more “upscale” lodging for corporate clients, business travelers and vacationers.

The hotel will be the first to open here since 2008, when La Quinta Inns & Suites opened across Interstate 69.