|By Meg Mirshak, The Augusta Chronicle,
Ga.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Nov. 09, 2012--A long-coming plan to replace a vacant, eyesore hotel on Broad Street could finally be coming after a tax incentive helped thrust the project forward.
Hotelier T.R. Reddy said construction could begin early next year to transform the old Regency Inn into a Holiday Inn Express and Suites. The Augusta Commission created a tax allocation district on Thursday for the property and surrounding area that helped Reddy move forward with the plan after years of financing delays.
A new hotel will help stimulate additional downtown business development, Reddy said. Hotel rooms are in short supply for a growing list of downtown events and are needed for visitors to the recently expanded Augusta Convention Center, also known as the TEE Center, he said.
"We are hoping this should do well, but also it should help the city grow a good landscape at an entrance to the city," Reddy said.
Reddy bought the property at 444 Broad St. in 2009 for $588,500, according to The Augusta Chronicle archives. Initially, construction was to be completed by July 2011. The structure will be gutted to the steel frame and rebuilt.
He plans to spend nearly $6 million to renovate the building, which hasn't been used as a hotel for more than a decade. The property has convenient access to Gordon Highway and should help him attract business from Fort Gordon, he said.
Reddy, who has developed several local hotels, was motivated to find financing for the hotel after another developer, Courtland Dusseau of Alabama-based Legacy Hospitality, also ran into financing troubles. Dusseau planned to build a Hyatt Place hotel on Reynolds Street across from the convention center.
The 70,000-square-foot Holiday Inn Express and Suites will have 110 rooms, eight suites and three meetings rooms when completed, Reddy said. It will feature an outdoor swimming pool, gym and common space.
Reddy plans for the Holiday Inn to be a "green" building and meet requirements for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. He built the area's first green hotel, a Comfort Inn and Suites on Norland Connector Drive, in 2009 and sold it two years later.
"This will be the first LEED hotel in town," he said.
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