ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The next project for Albany city leaders is a new downtown hotel.
They approved a refinancing loan in order to build a new Home 2 Suites by Hilton.
It is expected to be built right next to the existing Hilton Garden Inn, which is on the corner of North Front Street and West Oglethorpe Blvd.
The proposal would divide the current hotel site into two parcels and refinance the existing hotel.
The plans come on the heels of a new double-deck bridge that spans the Flint River and new businesses opening up, like Waffle House, expected to be Albany's first 24-hour restaurant downtown.
The new city projects are aimed at jump starting redevelopment in downtown Albany.
"It also says a lot to me that the private sector is willing to invest in our downtown, which is phenomenal," said Albany's new City Manager, Sharon Subadan.
The new hotel is expected to have 80 rooms and create about 30 jobs with an estimated $3.6 million annual economic impact.
Assistant City manager Wes Smith said in a memo that "The Hilton relationship has been one of Downtown Albany's success stories and the addition of the new hotel provides a way for the city to extend that relationship while also lowering the city's existing financial exposure and increasing tax and other revenue to the city."
Home2 Suites is described by Hilton as "an innovative all-suite extended stay" hotel.
Albany resident and businessman Tim Tift said he likes the new direction. As an upholster professional, he sees benefits from the new hotel.
"I've done a little work for downtown for a few of the clubs that have opened and businesses so it should bring business for me and others."
City Manager Subadan said part of the deal is working with developers for more parking.
"As part of the deal they're providing $225,000 for a feasibility study, engineering and design of opportunities for parking both for themselves and for the city," she explained.
The Mule Barn is being examined as a potential parking site.
" We do want to preserve the facade," said Subadan. "It has a lot of historical character and value to our community, but we do believe because of where it's placed it's a really good site."
Leaders said more projects are being worked on for downtown as well.