The city of Sandy Springs is exploring ways to attract a luxury hotel next to City Springs.
Helping fund the hotel through a public-private partnership and relocating the nearby Georgia Power substation are among a consultants’ recommendations to draw a hotel to the new civic center area around Roswell Road and Mount Vernon Highway. The hotel should be a luxury “boutique” property operated by a major brand, according to the study, which was presented at the City Council’s Jan. 22 retreat.
“The short answer is: a hotel would be feasible for someone to build and operate,” said Andrea Worthy, the city’s economic development director who gave the presentation.
The hotel would be next to and complement City Springs, the art and civic complex that opened in Sandy Springs last year.
The idea to have a hotel was discussed in the 2012 City Center Master Plan, which said it expected the civic center to spur a hotel within 10 years and suggested a “boutique” hotel that is distinct from current ones already in the market.
“City Center would offer a unique setting for such a boutique hotel compared to other locations in the city or Perimeter area, which lack its walkable, amenity-rich environment,” the master plan said in its prediction.
A separate consultant that studied the type of Sandy Springs visitors also encouraged the building of a hotel at City Springs. The lack of nearby hotel space limits the type and number of events that can be held in the facility, the consultant said at the retreat.
City officials had confirmed last year amid City Springs’ opening that developers were interested in building a hotel, but no plans had been formally filed.
For the greatest chance of success, the hotel would need to be an upscale, luxury boutique hotel operated by a major, well-known brand, the consultants said.
“It’s not something that we have in our marketplace right now,” Worthy said.
The city should explore using a public-private partnership to help fund the hotel, like the city did with City Springs itself, the consultants said. The estimated cost for a luxury hotel is $28 million to $30 million, Worthy said.
The study gives the city some expert backing to help draw developers, Worthy said.
Worthy said the city has already presented the numbers to some hotel brands and said “there’s definitely some interest,” especially now that City Springs is open.
The Georgia Power substation across the street from City Springs on Mount Vernon Highway is a “visual hindrance” and should be, at the minimum, hidden by landscaping. But the city should also work with the company to have it relocated if possible, the consultants said.
“It’s definitely a challenge to attract a developer,” Worthy said.
The consultant recommended a few boutique hotels backed by a major chains for the area: Aloft by Marriot, Indigo by IHG, Tapestry by Hilton and Tribute Portfolio by Marriott.
Although none of those brands, or any boutique hotels, are currently in the market, a developer has proposed an Aloft hotel as part of an office development on Barfield Road.
The ideal hotel would open in early 2021 with 125 rooms, equipped with a lobby bar and full-service restaurant, swimming pool, paid parking and outdoor gathering areas, according to the presentation.
The hotel would need its own meeting space to complement City Springs, but would have access to the Performing Arts Center though a “mutually beneficial partnership,” the presentation said. The hotel could also tie into a “cultural center” proposed for the area by the city, which would hold several local groups and an art gallery.