New 241-room hotel proposed for Swanton Way in downtown DecaturA view of the proposed Tempo and Homewood Suites hotel looking onto Swanton Way in downtown Decatur. Photo courtesy of the city of Decatur.
Decatur, GA — A new 241-room hotel could be coming to downtown Decatur. The Decatur Downtown Development Authority approved a resolution of support for a proposed hotel at 213 Swanton Way during its meeting on Aug. 11.
The developer has requested special exceptions related to building height and parking. The exceptions still have to go before the Decatur Planning Commission, and the Decatur City Commission will make the final decision on the application.
The developers, BCA Studios and Vision Hospitality Group are seeking to increase the building height from 80 feet to 82 feet, reduce the streetscape landscape zone, and allow all the parking to be off-site in nearby parking decks.
Planning and Economic Development Director Angela Threadgill said she has worked with BCA Studios, the architect for the project, for over a year to refine the proposal.
The hotel will feature two different brands: Tempo and Homewood Suites. They will share a lobby, but the rooms for each hotel brand will be on different sides of the building. There would be 123 Tempo rooms and 118 Homewood Suites rooms. The hotel would mainly front Swanton Way and would be located between Commerce Drive and Ponce de Leon Place.
“Tempo is a new flag, and basically, it’s one of the lifestyle brands,” said Michael Clifford with BCA Studios, the architect of the project. “We’re aiming at a different type of customer. It’s more modern, but basically has the same amenities as far as fitness, and things [like that]. Homewood Suites is Hilton’s extended stay brand.”
Amenities would include elevators, a pool, an outdoor courtyard, a café, a rooftop bar, a fitness center, balconies for some rooms, an outdoor kitchen, an event space, and meeting rooms. The café, Bluestone Lane, would open up to Ponce de Leon Place and have a ramp leading to its entrance.
The developer is seeking a special exception for the height due to the grade change of the property, which is about eight feet.
“We’re meeting the street in every location, except at the corner of Ponce and Swanton, it drops so much that it makes the building taller because the grade at the base of the building is a foot and a half lower than our finished form. Asking for 82 [feet] is almost a safety,” Clifford said. “We’ve been able to squeeze the building and not make it too tall. I just do want to be in permitting [and] we’re 80 feet and six inches.”
The building would be seven stories. The property is located across the street from the Maloof Building, which is six stories, according to the application.
In terms of parking, the city’s code says that up to 80% of on-site parking, and the developers are seeking to have 100% of the parking off-site. Vision Hospitality Group is looking to enter into long-term agreements to use the Task Force for Global Health and the 1 W. Court Square parking decks. The hotel would have a valet operating 24/7.
There are three parking lots currently on the property. The development would remove those parking lots and add a circular drop-off lane on Swanton Way. About four cars could be in the drop-off lane at one time. Vision Hospitality Group anticipates many hotel guests will arrive at the hotel via a ride share service or MARTA.
Threadgill added that there are about 493 parking spaces in the 1 W. Court Square parking deck.
“…In our development codes we have a chart…of those complementary uses and office and hotel is the ideal combination for a shared parking agreement because of the different uses and times of uses,” Threadgill said.
DDA Vice Chair Noah Peeters also said that there is a large amount of excess parking in the city.
“I think if we are developing, and especially [with] hospitality, the more rooms we can put on a site which can permanently be used by guests versus parking, which over time will be less and less valuable as ridesharing continues and people continue leaning on our public transport, the better the city is,” Peeters said.
A drop-off lane would interrupt the six-foot landscape zone along the length of the property. A 10-foot sidewalk will also be provided between the building and the drop-off lane along Swanton Way, Clifford said.
To view the application and staff memo, click here.
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