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Hampton Inn, Sami’s Pizza, other projects coming along

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SMITHFIELD — Across town, commercial projects are in various states of construction.

At 160 Towne Center Plaza, on the cul-de-sac just down the street from Golden Corral, a Hampton Inn is on schedule for a fall opening, said developer Anup Patel. “We expect to open in early October of this year,” he said in a phone interview.

The hotel will have 112 rooms. “It’s probably on the larger size for an interstate hotel,” said Patel, whose company also owns the Selma Hampton Inn, which has 76 rooms.

The Smithfield Hampton Inn, he added, will replace the Selma hotel, which is more than two decades old. “There will be two different room types — a king room and a double queen,” Patel said, adding that most will have walk-in showers. “You will not see a lot of tubs.”

“The pool will be indoors,” meaning year-round swimming, he added. “That will be a change from what we have in Selma.”

The hotel will serve breakfast only, but that breakfast will separate the Hampton Inn from its competitors along the interstate, Patel said. “For travelers, the breakfast is going to have a much more exhaustive list of items to choose from,” he said, pointing to a menu not only of bacon and eggs but also pancakes, made-to-order waffles and smoothies, among other items.

Hampton Inn has another advantage over hotels in its price range, Patel said. “Hampton is the only brand in that segment that has a 100-percent guarantee,” he said. “If your stay is not OK, we don’t expect you to pay for it.”

As for pricing, Patel said room rates would average $120 to $130 a night. The lobby, he added, will have a shop offering sweets, snacks, toiletries, and wine and beer, among other items.

Patel expects the hotel to employ about 20 people full time and a few part-timers. His company’s total investment in the project, including land, construction and furnishings, will be about $17 million, he said.

Elsewhere in Smithfield, at 312 E. Market St. in the heart of downtown, Joseph Mannino hopes to open his second Sami’s Pizza and Pasta by month’s end. “It’s coming along,” he said of work to transform the building from office space into an eatery. “We should have all of the electrical done by the end of this week.”

Mannino, a New Jersey native, also owns the Sami’s Pizza and Pasta in Selma, and his Smithfield menu will be the same, with one notable exception. “We’re going to have beer and wine at this location,” he said.

Mannino, who’s been making pizzas since he was 15, said the Smithfield Sami’s will open at 10:30 a.m. seven days a week. Closing time will be flexible based on customer traffic, he said.

People come to Sami’s for its pizzas and lasagna, Mannino said. “Everything’s homemade,” he said, even the bread. “We make our own bread throughout the day.”

Mannino, 39, expects Sami’s to employ as many as five people.

Down East Market Street from Sami’s, near College Road, John Dupree is developing College Plaza.

The project, with six storefronts, takes its name from nearby Johnston Community College. “That’s how I came up with it,” Dupree said via phone earlier this month.

Already, Dupree said, he has leased space to a tobacco shop and nail salon, the latter of which will take up two storefronts. “Then I have some restaurants and hamburger places looking at the other spaces,” he said. “I anticipate something not too far in the near future.”

Dupree had hoped to open College Plaza in October, but rain set the project back. “Every third day, it rained,” he said.

His revised schedule has College Plaza opening no later than early spring, Dupree said. “I would say two more months, probably around March 1,” he said.

The shopping center, with 9,313 square feet, will have 54 parking spaces, in part to accommodate an expected restaurant.

On the southside of town, at Bright Leaf Boulevard and Wal-Pat Road, workers have poured the slab for a 6,200-square foot building.

Smithfield town planner Mark Helmer said Tires & Wheels, a service shop, will occupy part of the building, construction of which is scheduled to take place in two phases.

Tires & Wheels will take up 2,800 square feet, leaving 3,250 square feet for a second tenant, Helmer said.