The city council recently unanimously approved plans to build a Hyatt House on a vacant lot at the intersection of Jefferson Street and Holmes Avenue, across from the federal courthouse building.
The city has designs on having more than 1,000 hotel rooms available downtown for conventions and other large events within walking distance of the VBC.
“We’re getting there,’’ said Shane Davis, city director for urban and economic. “We need to get to about 1,500 rooms. Conferences need available rooms. The Monday through Friday traffic is already reserving existing rooms.’’
Southaven Associates LLC of Birmingham will build the Hyatt, which will add 145 rooms to the city’s goal. NAI Chase Commercial is the development coordinator and Visionquest Capital is the capital and financing partner for the $35 million project.
“Hyatt is one of the most widely recognized brands in the world,” Charlie Grelier Jr., president of NAI Chase Commercial. “We are thrilled to be part of this exciting new downtown development. The hotel is expected to become a top choice for business and leisure travelers due to its ideal location in the heart of the Entertainment District.”
The nine-story hotel will be at the corner of Jefferson Street and Holmes Avenue and will include a full-service restaurant, meeting areas and a rooftop bar.
Construction is set to begin Jan. 1 with completion date set for Dec. 31, 2021. Davis said construction could be shortened by five months if the weather cooperates.
The city continues to add to not only it’s hotel portfolio downtown but various other businesses such as restaurants. The square and city skyline hardly resemble what they looked like just a few years ago as building in the area continues.
The Hyatt will join other new hotels in downtown such as the AC Hotel that opened this year at the site that once housed the Huntsville Hilton.
Davis said city administrators aren’t fazed by talk from national economists warning a recession might be looming.
“On a national scale there is talk of a small recession,” he said. “(Mayor Tommy Battle) said it best when we recently went for a bond rating. The mayor said there might be a small recession, but we’re not going to participate.”
Davis’s comment was echoed by the financial backers.
“Huntsville is the perfect emerging southeastern market for our capital investment and growth,” said Michael Hanks, founder and managing partner of Vision Quest Capital. “We look forward to investing in its future.”
The city will also purchase land at the hotel site for some $600,000. It will be used to expand the Washington Park area to provide what Davis called a “gathering spot.”
The city will also pay for infrastructure and street improvements at the site that Davis said were budgeted prior to the introduction of the hotel project at an estimated cost of $750,000 to $1 million.
The city will also lease the Hyatt up to 205 parking spaces at the Clinton Avenue garage and a planned garage on Greene Street.