Participating in the groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 11 for the 106-room La Quinta Inn & Suites in Braselton, Georgia, are from left, Hardy Johnson, a member of Braselton’s Town Council; Don Clerici, president of BM&K Construction & Engineering; Tony Funari, president of Funari Realty; Khandu Patel, Himesh “Harry” Patel, Shiv Patel and Dr. Dharmesh Patel, all partners of Shiva Hotel Group, owner of the hotel; Chegan Patel, Dr. Patel’s father; Dallas Smith of Piedmont Construction; and Tom Koether of Fidelity Bank, which financed the $14 million project.

A GROUP OF Asian American hoteliers broke ground on Sept. 11 for a La Quinta Inn & Suites in Braselton, Georgia.

The groundbreaking event drew business people and government representatives from a four-county region in North Georgia, a fast-growing area in commerce and population.

The La Quinta Inn & Suites in Braselton is the first hotel to be developed over the past two years in the quad-county area about 50 miles north of Atlanta, just off Interstate 85.

The investors who comprise Shiva Hotel Group, the hotel partnership, are Himesh “Harry” Patel, Khandu Patel, Shiv Patel and Dr. Dharmesh Patel, a local family practitioner.

Harry Patel also owns and operates several other properties in the area, including a Quality Inn, a Red Roof Inn and a Travelodge.

Mike Davis, director of development for La Quinta in the Gulf States and Southeast U.S., speaks in front of a drawing of the La Quinta Inn & Suites in Braselton, Georgia, which will be designed according to the brand’s latest Del Sol prototype.

The 106-room La Quinta is going up on a 30-plus acre site, which the partners acquired for $2.3 million. Harry Patel said plans are to build a mixed-use development called Village at Braselton that will include restaurants, retail, office and an apartment complex. Also included is another hotel pad, which he said may be used to develop an upscale or an extended-stay brand to complement the La Quinta.

The La Quinta’s development price tag is $14 million. It will have meeting facilities that will exceed brand standard and accommodate up to 300 people, said Harry Patel. The hotel will be designed according to the brand’s Del Sol prototype.

Khandu Patel, an uncle of Himesh who has developed several hotels in New York City, said he believes the entire development is a wise investment as the market north of Atlanta will continue to experience growth. “It is important to partner with the right people,” he said.

The hoteliers acquired the 30-plus acres that will be the Village of Braselton, a mixed-use development that includes the La Quinta Inn & Suites and plans for apartments, retail, restaurants and office space.

Mike Davis, director of development in the Gulf States and Southeast U.S. for La Quinta, and a resident of Atlanta, said he remembers when Braselton was “the country.”

Besides the Village at Braselton, another developer has proposed a large project that includes single homes, retail stores and a hotel. Recently, Monmouth Real Estate Investment Corp. of New Jersey acquired a 93-acre industrial site for $61 million. A one-million-square-foot FedEx ground packaging plant leases the site, and Monmouth REI expects the company to expand. Braselton – an hour’s drive from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport – is home to several other large distribution facilities, including Carters and Williams-Sonoma.

The city of Braselton also plans improvements to the parkway that runs in front of the hotel site.

The La Quinta Inn & Suites will be near Chateau Elan, a winery with a full-service luxury hotel; Road Atlanta, an auto-racing venue; and Park 85, an industrial park.

Khandu Patel said the hotel is expected to open in 16 months.