Changes in demographic taste and a freeway interchange moving south paved the way for Medford's two newest hotel properties on Center Drive.

Changes in demographic taste and a freeway interchange moving south paved the way for Medford's two newest hotel properties on Center Drive.

TownePlace Suites, an extended stay hotel, entertained its first guests Wednesday and adjacent SpringHill Suites is due to open in September.

"While there are a fair number of hotel rooms in the market, a number of them are older rooms and the traveling public is changing," said InnSight Executive Vice President Pat McShane. "Travelers are looking for amenities an older property probably wouldn't offer."

Construction of the three-story, 76-unit, 38,000-square-foot TownePlane Suites near Rogue Federal Credit Union cost $3.3 million, not including furnishings and equipment, according to Medford Building Department records. Sycan Development's agents purchased the 3.48 acres shared by TownePlace Suites and adjacent SpringHill Suites in March 2006 for $3.07 million.

"Marriott identified the need with people coming into town, who are relocating families, or coming here for corporate training," McShane said. "They needed more amenities. It's a more community-based hotel than where you check in and check out and nobody knows your name; it's almost apartment living."

Saundra McLean, general manager at InnSight Hotel Management Group's Fairfield Inn in Central Point since July 2006, will serve in a similar capacity for both new properties.

A staff of 20 will mind the property with 59 studio apartments of 378 to 523 square feet each, five 787-square-foot one-bedroom spaces and a dozen 976-square-foot two-bedroom residences.

Rates for a studio start at $119, but per night costs are tiered depending on length of stay. A stay of six to 11 nights costs $99 per day, from 11 to 29 nights costs $89 a day and stays of 30 nights or more are $74 a night. One-night stays for one-bedroom units are $139 and $189 for two-bedroom units. The one- and two-bedroom units are also tiered.

The south Medford interchange — scheduled for completion in 2010 — will wrap around the building.

"It will give us both great exposure and frontage," McLean said.

The property is one of nearly three dozen Marriott will sign-off on this year, said Greg Blackwell manager of owner and franchise services. In areas such as Medford, where there is in-migration, corporate headquarters, medical facilities and other draws, the hospitality industry trend is to provide long-term options.

TownePlace bills itself as one of the area's first extended-stay hotel. Candlewood Suites, a four-story, 78-unit hotel that opened in August 2006 on Heathrow Way near the Medford airport, is an extended-stay hotel. (Correction: See below.)

Although one could argue that older motels along Riverside and Central avenues have provided long-term stays, they tend to provide housing for a more permanent local population.

Pacific Retirement Services, Rogue Valley Manor's parent company, intends to open an extended stay hotel of its own within the next 18 months. A four-story, 100-unit, all-suite Homewood Suites Hotel by Hilton has been in the works since it was approved as part of the PRS master plan in 1998.

"We are going to bid to get contractors on board," said Brian McLemore, PRS executive vice president of development and marketing. "We ran into a little issue with the widening of Ellendale (Drive), surveying the site and splitting the lot out."

He expects construction to begin in late September and for the Homewood Suites to open in late 2008. That project was priced at $8 million in 2005.

"There is an inherent competitive advantage with being first in the market," Blackwood said. "Especially when you've got a great product."

TownePlace Suites by Marriott is a major player in extended-stay lodging, considered one of the fastest growing and best performing segments of the industry. TownePlace Suites are generally developed in smaller markets with mid-price potential. Blackwood said there are 133 TownePlace Suites in operation and another 75 approved or under construction.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or at business@mailtribune.com

Correction: Candlewood Suites was mistakenly omitted from the original story. This version has been corrected.