$14.5-million Best Western under development in Kansas

A new Best Western is in the works for Lawrence, Kan. Wichita-based Hospitality Development of America plans to build a $14.5-million Best Western Plus hotel and become the first tenant of The Mercato of West Lawrence, a mixed-use site being built by Lawrence developers Steve Schwada and Tim Fritzel adjacent to Rock Chalk Park, a new regional sports complex and home of KU Athletics. 

Construction on the four-story hotel is scheduled to start summer 2017, and the property is expected to open early summer 2018 with approximately 120 rooms and suites.

“We’re excited to be the lead-off tenant in this project,” Steve Martens, CEO of The Martens Companies and its hotel development subsidiary, Hospitality Development of America, said in a statement. “The Best Western Plus Mercato is being designed specifically to accommodate travelers coming for athletic events or families with teens touring potential college locations.”

Virtual Event


Survival in these times is highly dependent on a hotel's ability to quickly adapt and pivot their business to meet the current needs of travelers and the surrounding community. Join us for Optimization Part 2 – a FREE virtual event – as we bring together top players in the industry to discuss alternative uses when occupancy is down, ways to boost F&B revenue, how to help your staff adjust to new challenges and more, in a series of panels focused on how you can regain profitability during this crisis.

Martens was recognized last fall as the 2016 Developer of the Year for Best Western Hotels & Resorts. As a commercial real estate broker and a 1975 graduate of the University of Kansas, Martens has enjoyed a life-long connection with Lawrence. His daughter is also a graduate of the University of Kansas, and Martens is a past board member of the University of Kansas School of Medicine 4-Wichita.

“Steve Martens and Hospitality Development of America have invested in multiple Best Western hotel projects, and they simply represent the best of the best,” Ron Pohl, SVP and COO for Best Western Hotels & Resorts, said in a statement. “Their properties in Kansas and Oklahoma have been terrific additions to our portfolio. These hotels reflect the latest in architecture, design and technology our brand has to offer. I look forward to yet another award-winning venture at the Best Western Plus Mercato.”

Wichita-based Conco Construction is the general contractor for the hotel. Architectural design will be provided by Lance Adams, of Lawrence-based Adams Architects, and Wichita’s Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture. Landplan Engineering of Lawrence is handling site and engineering design for the project.

“It’s truly a thrill to be working with Steve Schwada and Tim Fritzel in kicking off development at the Mercato,” Martens said in a statement. “It has been fun these past few years watching the dynamic and quality growth in West Lawrence. We are truly excited to have this site under contract.”

The Best Western Plus Mercato will be operated by Hospitality Management. The company manages four Best Western- and Choice Hotel-branded properties in Kansas and Oklahoma, including the new Best Western Plus Norman, which opened last summer near the University of Oklahoma campus.

Hospitality Development of America and Hospitality Management are two of six operating entities of The Martens Companies, which also includes NAI Martens, Martens Appraisal, Huffman Corridor Consulting and Receivership Services Corporation.

Suggested Articles

The companies are working to develop a new hotel gym experience.

The Hotel Kansas City plans to use Knowland’s data to find accounts both in its market and in competitive markets to drive new business.

The total U.S. hotel construction pipeline at the end of Q3 2020 was down 7 percent by projects and 6 percent by rooms year over year.