Redfern: u201cWe have a large amount of interest in Southern California from our own guests, and I think that is a product of an improving economy.u201d

ORANGE COUNTY, CA-Wichita, KS-based Value Place, the largest economy extended-stay hotel brand in the US, is planning to build 12 new hotels in Southern California. The firm is actively pursuing potential building sites, working with San Diego-based KZ DevCo and actively targeting markets that include Los Angeles, San Diego, Long Beach, Orange County, Riverside and Ventura.

Some of the new Value Place properties will be corporate owned and operated, while others will be developed by Value Place franchisees. KZ DevCo’s general partner, Mark Zimmerman, says, “Housing and lodging costs are particularly challenging for travelers and new residents here, which is one of the reasons Value Place is a great fit.”

The brand was founded in 202 by extended-stay hotel pioneer Jack DeBoer, who created the Residence Inn brand, selling the company to Marriott International in 1987. DeBoer also founded Summerfield Suites (now Hyatt House), and Candlewood Suites, sold to Intercontinental Hotel Group in 2004.

Value Place will consider two-acre sites with frontage to highways or thoroughfares with daily traffic of more than 50,000, including local and out-of-town traffic; a strong mix of non-retail employers with more than 150 local employees; and households or apartment communities within a one- three- and five-mile area. caught up with David Redfern, president of Value Place Real Estate Development, to discuss exclusively why now is the right time for this expansion and the firm’s strategy for hotel development in 2014. Why is now the right time for this expansion?

David Redfern: We have 189 locations open nationwide today, and many times our guests ask if we have a location in Southern California. The answer has been no—our only California property is in Sacramento, which is in Northern California. We have a large amount of interest in Southern California from our own guests, and I think that is a product of an improving economy and people’s jobs taking them in farther directions from their hometown.

Also, we did a research report with the Highland Group, run by Mark Skinner out of Atlanta, and we asked them to analyze 100 markets to determine which would have the highest demand for Value Place. Southern California was number three out of 100. We knew there was a demand for what we had here, and it was backed up by our customers. What criteria are you using to determine the best sites for these hotels?

Redfern: We are looking for highway or main-boulevard artery visibility with a high degree of daytime population with employers, mixed in with maneuverability of access to a residential area. It should be a place you enjoy staying in for a week or more. What is your strategy for 2014 regarding hotel development?

Redfern: We are looking at both markets to franchise and markets to effect company growth. This includes Boston and its suburbs, New Jersey, Long Island, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. We’re also developing in Denver, Atlanta and Cleveland. We’re becoming a nationwide brand, both in geography and in repeat customers. Over one-third of our customers or guests have stayed with us before, so there’s strong brand awareness.