In some ways the Comfort Inn on Post Road next to the airport was a beginning for the Rhode Island based Procaccianti Companies and TPG Hotels & Resorts. Until then, the company had acquired several area independent inns.
The Comfort Inn was the first nationally branded hotel bought by Jim Procaccianti, said Greg Vickowski, chief financial officer/principal, Procaccianti Companies, to a gathering of elected officials and hotel and tourism leaders outside the 206-room Fairfield Inn and Suites. Vickowski said that over three decades the company has owned, developed or managed almost $10 billion of investment real estate.
Yet the rebirth of the Comfort Inn as the Fairfield after millions of dollars of renovations is unique.
“What makes today’s event unlike the hundreds of others we’ve celebrated over the years is that our success in the hotel industry has its origins right here. Every hotel that we’ve owned, built or managed can trace its lineage directly back to this property,” he said.
Vickowski said when Procaccianti bought the hotel in 1986 it was a 102-room “underperforming and neglected Comfort Inn – but Jim had a much greater vision for the property.” The hotel was renovated and expanded, doubling its size.
“It was his vision and infectious entrepreneurial spirit that put this hotel in the national spotlight by earning the award as America’s Best Comfort Inn,” he said.
Now as a Fairfield Inn and Suites, the hotel continues to hold distinctions. It is the fifth largest Fairfield Inn and Suites in the chain and the only one to have a walkway directly to an airport terminal. With some renovations for a door and addition of a breezeway to the adjoining airport garage, hotel guests are no further than a five-minute walk from the terminal. The connection was made under an agreement with the Rhode Island Airport Corporation.
“Its most important feature is direct access to the airport,” Mayor Scott Avedisian said.
Ralph Izzi, vice president of marketing/public affairs, commented on how Rhode Islanders fail to recognize their impact outside the Ocean State.
“Often unclear is that beyond the borders of the Ocean State, our firm is viewed quite differently. Our historical résumé includes over 160 hotels and nearly 30,000 guest rooms and we’ve owned, operated or developed real estate in 30 states coast to coast. Without question, Procaccianti Companies and TPG Hotels & Resorts are viewed as industry leaders ranked among the largest and most respected real estate investment and hotel management firms in the United States,” he said.
For the time being, the site of the former Atwood Grill that has been cleared from the property will be paved and used for additional parking. In the future, it may be leased for another development, Izzi said.