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Holiday Inn, Alumni House open at Bloomfield development in Pearl

The Bloomfield development in Pearl has added another business. In fact, the newest addition is something of a two-for-one deal. Not only is Bloomfield now home to Holiday Inn at Trustmark Park, but also a new Alumni House Sports Grill has opened in the hotel.

On August 22, the new, full-service Holiday Inn at Trustmark Park opened adjacent to the other Bloomfield properties, Trustmark Park and Bass Pro Shop. CDA Hospitality, the Holiday Inn’s developer and manager, says the new hotel is the largest in Rankin County, and that the rooms and meeting space were much needed in the area.

“We heard from the Chamber of Commerce folks and others that the area really lacked any meeting space,” said David Culpepper, managing partner of CDA. “So, we focused a lot on the meeting and banquet space.”

Alumni House Sports Grill represents the sports bar’s second location. Licensed to CDA, the new Alumni House will handle the Holiday Inn’s banquets and meetings, an arrangement that Alumni House managing partner Cannon Clegg sees as a win-win.

“It’s a symbiotic relationship,” Clegg said. “CDA wanted a different kind of restaurant in the hotel. And we hope that travelers coming to the hotel will eat in the Alumni House, gaining new customers for our brand.”

Variety of services

The Holiday Inn at Trustmark Park in the $200-million Bloomfield development offers 120 rooms. Uniquely designed, it offers a wide variety of services and amenities for both business and leisure travelers. These include banquet/meeting space that can accommodate up to 200 people, executive boardroom, airport shuttle, indoor pool/patio/fitness center, outdoor terrace with food and beverage service, business center, gift shop, Jacuzzi suites and free high-speed Internet access in all guest rooms.

Culpepper said CDA started looking at the Bloomfield site three or four years ago. He said it offered many pluses. First is location. Bloomfield sits adjacent to “The Stack,” where I-55, I-20, U.S. 80 and U.S. 49 intersect. It is now the closest full-service hotel to the Evers-Jackson International Airport, according to Culpepper. And it is within walking distance of both Trustmark Park and Bass Pro Shop.

The other factor was the aforementioned lack of meeting space in the area. Culpepper said CDA saw much potential for meetings and banquets, and that helped pushed the project along.

Construction on Holiday Inn at Trustmark Park began in May 2007, and went according to plan. Culpepper said CDA has been thrilled with the early response and traffic.

The new hotel currently employs more than 50 workers, and is still “ramping up,” Culpepper said.

Based in Flowood, CDA Hospitality currently manages six hotels in Mississippi. The company, named a “Fast 40” company in 2007 as one of the 40 fastest-growing private companies in the state, has a new Country Inn & Suites under construction in Meridian, located just off Interstate 20 by Bonita Lakes Mall. It will feature an indoor pool, conference room and other amenities, and is scheduled to open in November.

And, the company has started site work on a seventh property, a Hampton Inn, in West Point.

Game on

Alumni House’s Ridgeland location has enjoyed immense success, a fact Clegg attributes to wanting something different from a sports bar.

“I’m a huge sports fan,” he said. “I wanted a sports bar with extras. I want to drink out of a glass glass, not a plastic glass. I want to eat off a real plate. I want a linen napkin. I want first-quality food. I believe those are the things that set us apart from competitors.”

Because the new Alumni House is in a hotel and not freestanding, it is scaled down from the Ridgeland location. It will seat approximately 84 patrons (not counting the patio) and offer 24 televisions for sports enthusiasts.

However, the new Alumni House will offer the same menu and amenities as the original eatery, which includes more than 80 different kinds of beer.

Clegg said there is no other sports bars in the area, a fact he mainly attributes to the county’s ban on liquor sales. Since 70% of the Ridgeland Alumni House’s alcohol sales are beer, this was not an issue. However, the county prohibits the sale of beer on Sundays, which was a point of concern. But Clegg feels the new sports bar will not be hurt too badly.

The Alumni House is constructing another standalone bar in Hattiesburg. It will be comparable in size to the Ridgeland location. The only difference in offerings will be the TVs. Clegg said the Hattiesburg restaurant will offer fewer, but bigger, TVs, the largest being a 220” set.

Clegg said Alumni House had hoped to have the Hattiesburg restaurant opened by the start of the University of Southern Mississippi football season. Several factors, including the opening of the Pearl location, caused it to miss that mark. However, the new sports bar, located on North 40th Avenue, is slated to open in September.

Alumni House is not through growing. Clegg said he and his team would continue to look at markets, focusing on those within a two- to three-hour drive of Jackson and that are Conference USA or Southeastern Conference towns.

Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at wally.northway@msbusiness.com.

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