published Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Fairfield Inn eyes downtown Chattanooga

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A Chattanooga hotel developer is looking at raising a Fairfield Inn by Marriott near the Walnut Street Bridge downtown.

Vision Hospitality Group is planning the new downtown hotel for a tract near the south end of the bridge, provided the site is rezoned for the development. The site was previously housed a number of dental and other offices.

Andrew Hibbard of Vision Hospitality would not say how many floors are planned for the hotel. He said the height of the hotel would be dictated by the site and the city code.

Vision officials said they are looking at about 100 rooms for the new hotel, along with a two-level garage with some 88 parking spaces, according to Ben Berry of civil engineering group Miller-McCoy. A site plan also shows a pool.

Officials are seeking a zoning change from the city on the parcel for the proposed hotel. The time frame for construction wasn't revealed. The Chattanooga/Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission will consider the zoning change at their next meeting on June 11.

The site is bordered by Walnut Street, Riverfront Parkway and Aquarium Way. The Museum Bluff Parkside condominiums sit across Walnut from the proposed hotel, while a new 100-unit apartment building is planned across Aquarium Way from the site.

Hibbard would not talk about the cost of the proposed hotel, saying officials are getting soil tests back and "we've yet to figure out what the play will be there."

Berry said the hotel would not be a prototypical Fairfield Inn often built near Interstate highways. He said the company is working on a similar project near Nashville that is "upscale-type stuff."

"You definitely see the draw" of the site, Berry added.

Vision Hospitality last year completed a Hampton Inn & Suites at Chestnut and Fourth streets. That six-story hotel has 134 rooms with 130 parking spaces and cost about $18.2 million.

Vision also invested about $27 million into the Doubletree Hotel on Chestnut Street that was converted from a Clarion Hotel.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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