The development group behind South End’s first hotel project showed off their plans to a good-sized crowd at the Gallery South End last night (big thanks to everyone who showed up).
And the initial plans look like they’ll be a good fit for the neighborhood. The developers said they strongly believe the hotel should look different from all of the apartment complexes springing up in the area. And while there likely won’t be street-level retail or a significant bar as part of the project, they said they’re willing to keep listening to what the community has to say.
The hotel is planned for the corner of South Tryon Street and Kingston Avenue, which is on the same block as the Park & Kingston Apartments and Price’s Chicken Coop on the Camden side.
The location is within a half mile of both the East/West and Bland stations and within a 10 minute walk of places like Craft, Sycamore Brewing, Midnight Diner, Tavern on the Tracks and All American Pub.
The plan is to bring a 120-room hotel, which is on the smaller side, and it won’t be a full-service hotel with a massive restaurant and bar. It will, however, have a place to eat breakfast. The idea is to bring in a brand with a national reservation network, but there’s no word yet on what that will be.
The development group filed for a rezoning Monday. The soonest it could come for a formal public hearing would be April, with the earliest possibility of a City Council vote in May. That would likely push construction out toward the end of 2016.
Collin Brown, a K&L Gates attorney representing the development group, said the feedback he’s gotten so far has primarily focused on retail. He said their philosophy is that they should run an affordable place to stay, and encourage guests to go out and about in South End to have fun.
Instead of investing in retail, he said the developers plan to spend money building out the corner of Tryon and Kingston to include a fire bit and ample seating, creating a place to hang out and relax.
This makes sense. There’s not a ton of pedestrian traffic today at this particular corner, and it’s not likely that whatever small retail that could be included would move the needle or make a profit. Let’s let the people staying at the hotel walk a few blocks to all the bars and restaurants South End has to offer.
Here are the three design options presented
The differences between the three are subtle, and mostly come down to materials chosen. All three have something of an industrial feel with wood sprinkled throughout. They all also rely on roughly the same site plan, with parking mostly serving as the bottom floors of the hotel with a little bit of surface parking on the back side of the property. It doesn’t appear that retail is included in any of these plans.
Personally, I think I prefer Option A with the brick. Pass along your thoughts on the plans to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make sure it gets back to the developer.