Huge new hotel and conference center planned for downtown - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Huge new hotel and conference center planned for downtown

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October 13, 2003

Albany--  The Hilton Garden Hotel will be built next year. Not only does it mean a big new building for downtown Albany, but at least 50 new jobs, too.

Most of those jobs will be filled by South Georgians. A housekeeping staff will be needed to clean rooms. Cooks and waiters will staff the three-meal restaurant. Other service personnel including reservationists and luggage attendants will also be hired.

The hotel will be built on the corner of Oglethorpe and Front street downtown. It will feature 120 rooms and a state of the art conference center. It's the elusive facility that's been hailed as the centerpiece of downtown redevelopment.

The hotel is located a little more than a block away from the Rivercenter that is 50 percent complete, and on the banks of the Flint River.

$17 million will turn the empty lot into a 65,000 square foot hotel and conference center. "In addition to the rooms and the conference center, this will be a state of the art facility. It will be on of the best in the state," said Earl Patton of The Earl Patton Company.

Patton put up $1,000,000 and brought on Crestline Hotels and Resorts to run the hotel. These companies will pay back the nearly $12 million in loans on this massive project. Nearly $4.4 million comes from tax money.

ATI President Tommy Chatmon says the hotel is the center of the downtown redevelopment plan. "I said in the beginning that if we did not secure this hotel the plan not be a success."

But, architect Richard Standard say this will be no cookie cutter hotel. Albany's history and natural resources will shape the design. "I had mentioned I wanted to use pieces of old buildings and Tommmy Chatmon suggested the Radium Springs Casino salvaged parts."

Standard plans the cypress paneling, door frames, and even an outdoor terrace to give the hotel an artesian city touch. And, the hotel will feature a three meal restaurant. "This will be a great place to hold group meetings, conferences or just enjoy a fish dinners with you family on Friday night.

ATI hopes to open the hotel by Spring of 2005. And developer Earl Patton suggested today the city hold a huge grand opening festival, with maybe hometown star Ray Charles entertaining the crowds.

Construction is expected to begin around the first of the year.


posted at  5:40pm by dave.miller@walb.com