Neel Shah, fourth from left, president and managing member of Hotel Evolution, on Aug. 8 takes part in a groundbreaking ceremony breaks ground on the company’s Home2 Suites by Hilton development project in East Point, Georgia. Third from left is East Point Mayor Deanna Holiday Ingraham. East Point is one of the municipalities in the Atlanta airport district, where Shah owns another hotel.

HOTEL EVOLUTION HELD a groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 8 for a Home2 Suites by Hilton near the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.

It will be the third hotel Neel Shah, president of Hotel Evolution, and his family have built in the industrialized area near the world’s busiest airport.

“We have been in this market since 1997,” Shah said during the ceremony. “We are not new to East Point.”

The 99-suite Home2, an upper-midscale extended-stay hotel, is going up next to the Shah family’s Hampton Inn & Suites. The family has owned and operated the 104-room Hampton on Hartsfield-Jackson’s north side since 1999. Nearby is a Hilton Garden Inn they sold in 2014.

Neel Shah’s father, Suren, is a principal with Imperial Investments Group of Peach Tree Corners, Georgia, a suburb of metro-Atlanta. Suren is joined in business by Nitin Shah and Naren Shah, also principals. Nitin Shah is also CEO and chairman of Embassy National Bank in Atlanta.

Besides Neel’s father, his mother Leena attended the groundbreaking event. Also present were several East Point officials, including Mayor Deanna Holiday Ingraham, and members of Aerotropolis Atlanta Community Improvement District, of which Neel Shah is a board member.

Shannon James, president of the Aerotropolis Atlanta CID that formed in 2013, shared a memory of driving by the site when the Home2 was still in the planning phase. “And look, here we are today, less than 24 months.”

The new hotel is seven stories, six above ground with a daylight basement. Neel Shah said he expects it to open in August 2019. Hotel Evolution will manage the Home2 Suites.

The 99-room Home2 Suites by Hilton in the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport market will include fiber optic lines connected to each room for faster internet connection.

The Home2 Suites will include fiber optic lines connected to each room for a faster internet delivery. Dependable and fast Wi-Fi is critical when competing for business in an airport market. “We will have the fastest bandwidth for the entire area,” Shah said

Shah joined the CID because he was concerned about what he saw as dysfunction in the relationships among the municipalities that surround the airport. Lack of common ground and goals would eventually lead to the market’s decline.

Over the past two years, the CID has brought about numerous improvements to the Aerotropolis neighborhoods, including better lighting for the 14 interstate exits that serve it and improved security by hiring a well-organized security service. Future improvements include a network of security cameras as well as more beautification.

More importantly, Shah said, the functionality of the surrounding city governments has greatly improved. “It was a different story 20 years ago than it is right now,” he said. “Frankly, it’s a different story from a year and a half ago.”