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Downtown Flushing gets new Best Western hotel

A Best Western hotel is expected to open on 39th Avenue in downtown Flushing sometime this month and become the second nationwide hotel chain to move into a district that has seen marked commercial development over the last five years.

Tiffany Collins, a spokeswoman for Best Western, whose headquarters are in Phoenix, said the hotel, to be called Best Western Queens Court Hotel, will have 59 rooms, an exercise room and a complimentary continental breakfast. She said she did not know how much the hotel cost to build, because the project manager was on vacation.

The hotel, on 39th Avenue between Prince Street and College Point Boulevard, will become the third in Queens that Best Western has opened, Collins said. In addition, the chain is expected to build two more hotels in Queens in the next few months, she said, adding to the seven that are already in the New York City area.

The Sheraton LaGuardia East, a 173-room hotel on the other side of Prince Street, has been open since 1992. Doug Topous, the general manager, said he did not consider the Best Western to be competition because the Sheraton is a higher-end hotel, offering visitors gourmet dining and a two-floor mall.

“Best Western operates hotels aimed more at the budget level,” he said. “We’re operating a full-service business class hotel, so I suspect that their rates would be substantially below what we charge.”

With LaGuardia Airport close by and with the almost frenetic pace that development in Flushing has taken on in the past five years, some say it is not surprising that more hotels are being built in the downtown district.

Another hotel, which is not part of a chain and is similar in structure to the Best Western, is also being built on 38th Avenue, between College Point Boulevard and Prince Street. And the Imperial Hotel, also on 38th Avenue, has been there for about a year now.

Wellington Chen, a consultant for a Flushing developer, said it was too early to tell how a boom in hotels will bode for Flushing. But one reason why developers choose to build in the downtown district, he said, is because there are fewer restrictions on hotel parking.

What troubles him most, however, are the aesthetics of the two new hotels under construction and the impression that they block light.

“It’s the solid brick walls,” Chen said. “It does nothing for downtown. It’s just simply a brick wall.”

Although Topous maintained that the smaller hotels posed no threat to his, he allowed that such lodging facilities offer visitors on tighter budgets a more affordable place to stay.

“More people look at our hotel and think that it is a fairly busy operation,” he said, “and everyone wants to own a hotel. People always think of it as a glamorous business.”

Reach reporter Chris Fuchs by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.

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