An Augusta-based investment group announced Wednesday it will build a Hyatt House hotel on the 1200 block of Broad Street — the second major downtown hotel announcement this week and Broad Street’s first new business-class hotel in decades.
Construction on the five-story, limited-service hotel — which will have its own 140-space parking deck — could start as soon as December, said John Engler of DTJR LLC, a partnership between he and his mother Elizabeth Engler.
Engler also was involved in developing the Hyatt Place hotel near the Wheeler Road exit on Interstate 20 earlier this year.
The more upscale Hyatt House, which would have at least 100 rooms and possibly as many as 117, would sit on the nearly 1-acre site at 1268 Broad Street currently occupied by the former Capitol City Bank & Trust branch.
Engler said he chose the site partly because of its proximity to the 13th Street corridor, which he says is the premiere gateway to the city center.
“I’m really bullish on everything that is happening in downtown,” he said, citing the expansion of Augusta University, the influx of tech-related businesses downtown and improvements along the North Augusta riverfront. “We think there is a great opportunity for a new hotel with an urban feel.”
Engler declined to disclose his investment in the project, but property records show his limited liability company acquired the land in August for $700,000.
Dennis Trotter of Jordan Trotter Commercial Real Estate, which brokered the transaction, said the project has the potential to be “transformational” for Broad Street.
“It is good to see this kind of private investment in downtown,” he said. “It’s a good project that will attract other good things.”
The parcel is book-ended to the east by the Capps Insurance Agency, and to the west by the Frog Hollow restaurant. It directly faces the former Planned Parenthood building, which closed earlier this year and is in the process of being sold.
Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Margaret Woodard said the hotel will have the same effect on Broad Street’s west end that the Holiday Inn Express renovation did to the east end a few years ago.
“And there will be a retail component to it, which we’re excited about,” Woodard said.
Engler said ground-floor retail tenants have not been identified, but are typically offices, limited-service eateries and coffee houses.
Hyatt Houses typically have full-service hotel bars and room rates that average $150 a night.
The hotel is being designed by Augusta’s Dickinson Architects and built by Augusta-based ACC Construction, Engler said.
Barry White, CEO of the Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the expansion of the city’s convention center at the downtown Marriott a few years ago and overall downtown business growth has increased demand for such a hotel.
“It’s definitely a quality product, catering to the business traveler and high-end leisure traveler,” he said.
The Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center, built as a Radisson in 1992, was expanded in 2001. The only new hotel rooms added in the central business district since then came from the 118-room Holiday Inn Express renovation in 2014.
On Tuesday, Augusta Riverfront LLC, the company that owns the Augusta Marriott and manages the city-owned convention center, unveiled plans for a new 125- to 130-room hotel at Reynolds and Ninth streets on a site formerly occupied by the Augusta Police Department. The yet-to-be branded hotel will connect to the convention center parking deck via pedestrian bridge.
White said the additional rooms will enable downtown to accommodate more visitors which, in turn, will boost overall commerce.
“The convenience of having additional rooms downtown that are similar in quality to the Marriott will be an advantage,” he said.
Source: The Augusta Chronicle
Author: Damon Cline/Business Editor