New Housing Relief Already Gone

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Many Midlanders won't even make it past the front desk of the new Marriott TownePlace Suites.

It opened to the public on Monday and now, under the housing crunch, two days later for its grand opening, the hotel is already full.

"It's surprising that it happened that fast. We're not normally used to that," CEO of Western International, Gene Carter, said. "The first night, we think we were 70% the first night and 100% second night."

These aren't cramped rooms either, but 100 spacious suites designed for extended stays, big enough to fit families, and they're still packed.

Where hotel officials said filling up usually takes weeks, this happened in 48 hours.

Holly Lathrop is currently staying at the hotel, just happy to have a place to rest her head.

"I was very grateful," she said. "When we call our travel agent and we tell her we're going to Midland, she cringes."

Lathrop also works for a staffing agency, saying her company has battled for more than a year to try to place workers out here, where there's no place to go.

Recently, they've had to cut back on trying.

"In fact, we've had to curtail some of our recruiting efforts because there's no place for anybody to live," she said.

As far as any future room openings go, even that's not guaranteed because oil companies have already reserved rooms for a long time to come.

"We have roughly 40% of our rooms rented for the rest of the year," Carter said. "The rest is daily business but it will fill up every day."

Carter said the demand is so great they'll have opened up seven or eight hotels containing 1200 rooms altogether in the Midland/Odessa area within the next 18 months.