By Brian Boyd
NEW BEDFORD — The Lafrance family formally celebrated the opening of their new downtown hotel Thursday evening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott opened for business almost a month ago, more than four decades after the city’s last hotel closed. Joined by elected officials and other well-wishers, the Lafrance family officially marked the launching of the 106-room hotel.
“My family and I are just thrilled to be here this evening to celebrate the continuing resurgence of New Bedford,” said Richard Lafrance, president and chief executive officer of the Lafrance Hospitality Company. “Great things have happened. Great things are happening.”
In addition to the $11 million hotel, the family is finishing an adjacent conference center, which is expected to be ready by September.
Lafrance’s grandchildren held up a ribbon made of $250 in $10 bills, taped together, while his mother, Rita, cut it. The money was donated to Nativity Preparatory School in New Bedford, represented at the event by two students.
Mayor Scott W. Lang praised the hotel as a great facility that supports the overall goal of revitalizing the city.
“It’s the perfect complement to what we have been trying to do, which is open New Bedford up for new investment opportunities, to bring people in, roll out the red carpet, show them what we see every day, which is the greatest city in this region and one of the great ones in America,” Lang said.
City councilors and representatives for U.S. Rep. Barney Frank and Gov. Deval Patrick also spoke. Lafrance was presented with a joint proclamation from Lang and the City Council, marking the occasion.
Shelly Perry, the general manager of the new hotel, thanked the crowd that had gathered outside the front entrance for the ceremony.
“I’m a New Bedford girl and extremely proud and happy to be here as the general manager of this beautiful Fairfield Inn & Suites,” Perry said.
June 25, 2010 12:00 AM
By Brian Boyd