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Candlewood Suites Project Breaks Ground Near Choccolocco Park

Candlewood Suites Project Breaks Ground Near Choccolocco Park

Oxford hotel guests have made their wishes known, and one of those wishes is to have a place for home cooking.

To that end, ground was broken Wednesday across the highway from the entrance to Choccolocco Park for Candlewood Suites, an $11 million project that will add 15 jobs to the area’s hospitality industry.

And suites with kitchens.

Darshan Patel, one of the investors in the project, said he and his cousin, Vishal Patel, are residents of Calhoun County who are happy to be making this lodging a reality.

“This has been our dream since 2014 when we came to this town,” Patel said.

Boasting 92 studio suites, of one- or two-bedroom size, the lodging will be equipped with small kitchens, including pots, pans and utensils for extended-stay or short-term guests. Mary Patchunka-Smith, director of promotions and hospitality for the the Oxford Parks and Recreation Department, said that many of those who come for the tournaments at Choccolocco Park have requested home-cooked foods, and now they can prepare their own meals after visiting a nearby grocery store.

The hotel is located on Boiling Springs Road across from the Choccolocco Park entrance.

The Patel cousins, along with many relatives from India, flew for more than 30 hours to be present at Wednesday’s groundbreaking. The Patels, who own the Super 8 and the Motel 6 hotels in Oxford, made it a family affair by inviting their wives, mothers and others to attend.

Also present were Mayor Alton Craft and 60 other guests, including members of the Oxford City Council, the Oxford City Hall staff and other leaders from throughout the county.

“We know Candlewood will be special,” Craft said.

Also speaking was Stacy Holmes who, along with his son Bret Holmes, a professional stock car racing driver, purchased the property where the hotel will be four or five years ago.

Holmes said the Church of the Highlands is scheduled to be built south of Candlewood, and added that, “There are a lot more things coming, especially along the Leon Smith Parkway.”

Candlewood is a brand of hotels associated with the global hotel company IAG.

By Sherry Kughn, Star Staff Writer, skughn@annistonstar.com

May 24, 2023