|By Matt Garfield, The News &
Observer, Raleigh, N.C.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
April 10, 2011--RALEIGH -- A six-story Hampton Inn & Suites planned on Glenwood South has won a key approval from the city, to the delight of downtown advocates who say the popular entertainment strip has long needed its own hotel.
City planners pushed for an urban-friendly design to complement the landscape on Glenwood, a hot spot for bars, restaurants and clubs.
Visitors flock to Glenwood South on the weekends but don't have a place to stay on the strip, said Niall Hanley, who owns Solas, Hibernian and The Diner, all restaurants in the Glenwood South district.
"If you think about the clustering of hotels, you have hotels on Fayetteville Street, you have hotels at Crabtree," Hanley said. "The hotel for us will allow people the option of staying, dining and being entertained in our district."
The 126-room hotel will anchor a development with ground-level space for retail at Glenwood Avenue and West Johnson Street.
Glenwood Hospitality Associates bought the property last year for $1.8 million. Investors spent months negotiating with the city over sidewalks and parking layout.
The group will choose a general contractor and apply for a building permit later this month, said John VanCoutren of EVP Hospitality and Prime Investments. An opening is planned for fall 2012.
Downtown needs more than its current 1,000 hotel rooms to accommodate visitors and business travelers, said David Diaz, president of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. Three million people visited downtown last year, Diaz said.
Charlotte, which will host the 2012 Democratic National Convention, has about 4,000 hotel rooms in its uptown district.
Developers have spent years searching for hotel sites on the trendy Glenwood strip, which stretches from Hillsborough to Peace streets.
A variance was needed because the portion of Glenwood Avenue is classified as a major thoroughfare. The City Council approved the exception last week.
The Hampton Inn will join several hotels opening in the Triangle.
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