“Basically, what we did was assign the rights I had under the MOU, just for the hotel site, to the hotel,” Doss said. “While it’s not a terribly complicated deal, it is rather complicated to put it all in a contract.”
A Courtyard by Marriott is planned for the city-owned property across from Barron Stadium. The best-case scenario now is that construction would get under way late this summer or early in the fall.
The Doss group retained rights to 0.6 acres of the original 2.14 acre tract, which Doss plans to market for purposes that Duke Lodging Rome LLC would have to approve. Duke Lodging will build the four-story hotel on 1.54 acres.
Doss will also retain his option for phase two of the development on West Third Street.
The document approved by the City Commission also allows Duke Lodging to reduce the number of rooms in the hotel from the original parameters of 105 to 120 to a minimum of 102. Doss said Tuesday the current plan features 104 rooms but may change.
Once the document is signed, Duke Lodging will have $100,000 cash in the project — $75,000 paid with the application to Marriott, along with non-refundable payments of $10,000 to the city of Rome and $15,000 to Doss.
The city is also offering $1.2 million in Tax Allocation District financing over 10 years. TAD funds are generated from the increase in property taxes as a result of development.
Of that amount, $375,000 will be paid back to the city for the property, leaving Duke Lodging with $825,000 toward the anticipated $12.5 million to finance construction.
Doss said Duke Lodging hopes to close on the property by March 1.
The only way out of the project for them would be for Marriott to deny the application, or for financing for the project to fall through. The Marriott board of directors is scheduled to meet Feb. 6 to formally approve the franchise rights.
The city of Rome is still obligated to do environmental tests, soil borings and run water and sewer service to the site.
“I’ll feel a whole lot better in a couple of weeks,” City Manager John Bennett said. “I’ll feel a lot better when they call and tell me they have their franchise.”
Site plan PDF