|By Brian Lazenby, Chattanooga Times/Free
Press, Tenn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
September 19, 2008 - Chattanooga is experiencing a lodging boom with at least six new hotels scheduled to open within the next two years.
Hotel development and management officials said the lodging facilities will add almost 700 rooms to the city.
Bob Doak, chief executive of the Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, is confident the city will attract enough visitors to support the new accommodations.
"The city has created a lot of demand by promoting itself," he said. "Anything we can do to add to our offerings, I'm all for."
Ben Parker, president of Performance Hospitality Group, has purchased the historic Maclellan Building, 721 Broad St., where he expects to invest between $18 million and $20 million renovating the 1920s-era building into a boutique hotel under the name Hotel Indigo.
"People are not going to build with this sort of craftsmanship ever again," he said as he pointed out the detailed marble work and the eagle statue perched over the front door.
The 12-floor hotel, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is expected to have 120 guest rooms, Mr. Parker said. Each room will have between three and six windows looking out at the downtown area, he said.
"One of the things that makes this situated to a boutique hotel is that all the rooms are different," the developer said.
Vision Hospitality is expected to open a 92-room Holiday Inn Express on M.L. King Boulevard near U.S. 27 on Oct. 2. That's the same day the company is to raise the Doubletree flag over the Clarion Hotel on Chestnut Street.
Mary Strech, office manager at Vision Hospitality, said the company also is working on a 134-room Hampton Inn and Suites at the location of the former Chattanooga Regional History Museum building at Fourth and Chestnut streets. It is to open in about 18 months, she said.
Vision Hospitality is planning a boutique hotel for the North Shore, but that's in the future, Ms. Strech said.
Ben Frizzel, president of the Bristol, Tenn.-based Frizzel Construction, is building two hotels near Interstate 75 in Ooltewah -- a 103-room Holiday Inn Express and a 116-room Hampton Inn, which to open in mid-November.
Hiren Desai, chief executive of 3H Group, said it is building a 109-suite Residence Inn at 2340 Center St. near Shallowford Road and Interstate 75. The hotel will have 5,000 square feet of conference space as well as a putting green, he said.
Mr. Doak said he believes there are a number of reasons behind the lodging boom .
"People are confident that the city will continue to grow," he said. "In the developers' minds there is a gap and they are filling it."
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