The City Commission approved an extension of the deadline for closing on property where the hotel will be constructed to March 10, 2013. The previous deadline was Jan. 2, 2013. Marriott’s board of directors is not expected to meet to give final approval for the project until the first week of February.
Marriott officials, in a letter of commitment to Duke Hospitality, part of Doss’ Samson Developers group, said, “We would be very supportive of Duke Hospitality developing a Courtyard by Marriott brand hotel in downtown Rome, Georgia.”
“This is the news we’ve been sitting on the edge of our seat wanting to be able to tell you,” said Commissioner Kim Canada, chairman of the city’s Redevelopment Committee. “In the beginning when we started this, Marriott was the footprint we had really wanted on West Third.”
Rome hotelier Anil Patel was awarded a franchise for a Fairfield Inn and Suites, also a Marriott brand, and Marriott was reluctant to put two hotels in Rome at the same time. Patel has not returned phone calls to the Rome News-Tribune to determine what happened to his plans for the Fairfield that was to have been located at East First Street and Turner McCall Boulevard.
Doss said that once the Marriott board gives formal approval, it will take approximately 30 days to get all the paperwork ready for closing, and the city is also responsible for having the property site ready, which means the former Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation Authority offices will have to be demolished. The footprint of the hotel will be located right where the recreation offices and Just Sports & Tennis were previously located.
Doss indicated that if plans proceed in a timely manner that actual construction could begin by mid- to late-summer, and construction of the hotel would take approximately 11 months. The development group is still working to finalize the financial package for the project
The hotel will be a limited full service property, with a restaurant, bar and conference rooms. It would have between 105 and 120 rooms. Last week Doss said the hotel would be a four story Courtyard on top of a two story parking deck. The parking deck would be level with West Third Street while the first floor of the hotel would roughly be level with the top of the Oostanaula River levee.
While the vote to approve the deadline for closing was approved unanimously, Commissioner Bill Irmscher said that should any further extensions be needed, the Samson Developers group would be required to put down some earnest money.
In related business, City Manager John Bennett said Duke Hospitality was continuing to have conversations with the county about the potential of managing The Forum.
“They have assured us that whether that happens, they are interested in making that happen, but the deal with Marriott is not contingent on them getting that contract with the county,” Bennett said.