The last surviving motor court in Joplin has a new name that goes back to its beginning.

The Westport Lodge motel was built in 1947 at the southeast corner of North Main Street and Fountain roads. It had 10 private cabins or cottages. It was on one of the alternate routes for Route 66 in Joplin. The motor court stood vacant for years until it was resurrected with a complete makeover in 2017 as the Enlight Inn, which offered a wellness center and other amenities.

In August, the motor court was renamed Westport Inn. It now offers nightly lodging. For details and availability, call 417-529-1002. I think it's the only place in northwest Joplin that offers lodging.

The property has an office with a kitchen and a drive-thru window. The manager of the inn told me last week that a Java Dave's coffee shop will be operating there by the end of the year if things go as planned. Of course, an added perk here for patrons is that one can walk across Fountain Road to Babe's Drive-In for a burger and some of the best onion rings around.

The manager told me that people from all over are staying at the inn, including those who are seeking a Route 66 experience.

Up next

Speaking of hotels, the 97-room Home2 Suites by Hilton that is under construction at 3000 S. Range Line Road is in the final stretch. Plans for the $7.5 million hotel were announced in March 2018.

Although some paving and other exterior work needs to be completed, a worker at the site told me last week that furniture was being delivered for installation on the top floor. From what I could see, this hotel will be another stylish addition to Joplin's growing motel district. Two open sites in the district, one on South Range Line and another on South Arizona Avenue, are being eyed for hotel development.

This hotel is part of the McHugh Hospitality Group, which first came to the Joplin market in 1997 with the Fairfield Inn. The company purchased the Hampton Inn in 2003 and built the Hilton Garden in 2006 and the Homewood Suites in 2012.

The new extended-stay hotel will offer 323-square-foot studios and 491-square-foot one-bedroom suites. The hotel offers a combined laundry and fitness center. The hotel is located within walking distance of three restaurants — On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina, Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, and Andy's Frozen Custard.

In January of last year, KMG opened the 115-room Holiday Inn at 3402 Arizona Ave. That company owns the Quality Inn and Comfort Inn in Joplin. It has delayed plans to build a Holiday Inn Express in Joplin.

Business opportunity

One of the first buildings to be constructed in the South Main Street part of the tornado zone is on the market for $295,500.

The two-story building, located at 2310 S. Main St., was designed and constructed in 2012 by Liz Easton for her business, Cupcakes by Liz. It later would become the home of Patrece Wecker's Carte Blanche Interiors.

The property is restaurant-ready. It has both on-street and off-street parking. It has wheelchair-accessible restrooms, and shipping and receiving rooms. Easton said the interior remodel of the store by Wecker "is simply gorgeous, very forward in decorating yet with exceptional class that, in my opinion, are looks that will last quite a while."

This property was successful as a dessert boutique and interior decorator's shop, but it could be anything. It could be a deli, a salon, a flower shop or a gift shop. As Easton told me in an email: "The possibilities are endless."

Details: 918-542-0093.

Wally Kennedy is a reporter and columnist for The Joplin Globe.

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