Members and guests of the Armidale Ex-Services Club board celebrated a milestone achievement on Monday evening.
The official opening of the Servies Motel.
Armidale legend and World War II Veteran Thelma McCarthy cut the symbolic red ribbon and said she was highly honoured to do so.
"I've opened a lot of things in my time, I've even sashed greyhounds - but this is the top, and please God, we have a peaceful and happy and healthy time in this beautiful building," Mrs McCarthy said.
"Every room acknowledges the background of this place.
"The little figurines of the soldier and the pictures in the rooms along with the entrance memorial garden are all designed around the ex-service people that lived here all those years ago."
The building was 12 years in the making, with management overcoming numerous hurdles along the way, including developing a new proposal to alleviate concerns of a one-in-100-year flood at the site, located near Dumaresq Creek and challenging a council suggestion the club should build a bridge between the motel and the Armidale Plaza shopping complex in 2013.
Finally, in 2019 the board was able to engage the local company, Rice Construction Group Pty Ltd, to design and construct its new 31-room motel between the Servies Club and Belgrave Cinema.
At the time, Scott Sullivan, CEO of the Armidale Servies, said: "Employing a local construction company and engaging as many local suppliers and contractors as possible was a high priority in the club's contractor selection criteria."
On Monday evening, Mrs McCarthy said this is the example 'we must all follow'.
"Keep local whatever you do - this is how this town will grow," she said.
President of the board, Brian Everett, said he wanted to thank club management for pushing the project through to completion.
"I also want to thank the Rice Construction Group,"
"They came to us with a design and construction concept, and we appointed them to do the complete project.
"I don't think anyone here could disagree that we made an excellent choice.
"They worked seven days a week to get this project across the line on time, and we are very happy with the results."
The new $7 million business has been heralded as a turning point for economic confidence in the city. The earthworks were completed in December 2020, the 12-month build began in January 2021, and managers Rhonda and Dave Gibbons were appointed last October.
Design consultant Stewart McRae who worked with Rice Construction, said the hotel's design maximises the views of the creek land area behind it. All rooms have a window seat, and the windows themselves are angled outwards to capture the bucolic vista.
"We did tours of various places around the state and in Armidale to look at the way motels are finished and the way people use the rooms," Mr McRae said.
"One of the key elements right from the start was the view. And a lot of it comes down to the quality of the finish - the Rice Group is exceptional in terms of the quality of the work that they do."
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