|By Tony Lombardo, The Augusta Chronicle,
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
May 26, 2006 - The days and hotel stays at the Augusta Inn & Conference Center are numbered.
The old Stevens Creek Road hotel could be demolished as early as the year's end in order to make room for two new facilities.
"All good things sometimes have to come to an end," said Surinder Jit Singh, the lead developer of the hotel project.
Mr. Singh received the building permit Thursday to begin construction on a Hilton Garden Inn, which could be completed as early as Masters Week 2007.
To make room for the hotel, two of the Augusta Inn's five buildings have been leveled.
Halfway into the Hilton construction, builders will start on a 150-room Sheraton Hotel, tentatively scheduled to open Masters Week 2008.
Both full-service hotels will cost more than $10 million to build and should yield 55 new jobs each, Mr. Singh said. They will include such amenities as restaurants and indoor pools.
Mr. Singh is part of the Stevens Creek Hospitality LLC, which purchased the Augusta Inn in July 2004. The plan always has been to demolish the old hotel, formerly a Holiday Inn.
"That property really did good in the old days, but it's about time to move along," Mr. Singh said.
Currently the hotel is operating 149 of its initial 250 rooms and the hotel will close entirely late this year or early next year.
It is just one of a few aging hotels on Washington Road that is seeing improvements. Augusta Suites is going through renovations in order to attract a brand name hotel company, said Jennifer Bowen, the vice president of public relations for the Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"Any time we have a hotel property make renovations, or become a new property, it's certainly a benefit," she said. "Visitors want new rooms." The Augusta Inn's developers announced earlier this month an approximate $5 million renovation of the Augusta Towers Hotel & Convention Center for its conversion to a DoubleTree. They also opened a new Holiday Inn in Columbia County in Nov. 2005.
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Copyright (c) 2006, The Augusta Chronicle, Ga.
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