|By Mike Pare, Chattanooga Times Free
Press, Tenn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 23, 2012--Downtown Chattanooga will add another hotel -- its first on the waterfront -- Thursday when a SpringHill Suites by Marriott opens its doors.
"Chattanooga is known for its river," said Hiren Desai, chief executive of developer 3H Group Hotels.
The $16 million, 116-room hotel next to the city's marina off Riverfront Parkway is the latest new lodging offered in Chattanooga.
An Embassy Suites is under construction off Shallowford Road, and Desai said his Chattanooga-based company has plans to soon put up another hotel and refurbish an existing property at the same Interstate 75 exit.
In East Ridge, a Comfort Inn has been extensively renovated and turned into a Best Western Plus. In addition, Vision Hospitality is planning to build a Fairfield Inn by Marriott downtown at the south end of the Walnut Street Bridge.
Desai said he's not sure where the saturation point is for new lodging, but the SpringHill Suites will cater to both business and leisure travelers and will hold 2,500 square feet of event space.
The five-level hotel is all suites decorated in a "boutique, Euro-style" fashion, he said. Some rooms have exterior patios overlooking the Tennessee River.
Jake Honegger, the hotel's general manager, said rates will start at $169 a day.
"It's something unique," he said.
The SpringHill Suites is the first part of the larger development known as Cameron Harbor, said Chattanooga developer Eugene "Buck" Schimpf.
He said negotiations are under way to put a restaurant adjacent to the hotel, and he plans to extend the city's Riverwalk by the lodging and his adjacent tract. Schimpf said he still is putting together plans for housing to go on that site.
Bill Breneman, director of sales and marketing of the Best Western Plus Arbour Inn & Suites in East Ridge, said that hotel's extensive renovation was finished in late April.
"Everything is brand new," he said, adding it was upscaled to compete with the Holiday Inn Express brand. Officials will mark the work at the hotel at a May 30 event, Breneman said.
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