Council to review hotel deal next to Raleigh Convention Center

January 27, 2014 

— City Council members will review a land sale Tuesday that will bring a long-delayed hotel to South Salisbury Street next to the Raleigh Convention Center.

Summit Hospitality Group plans to build an 11-story, 150-room Marriott Residence Inn on what’s now a parking lot between Lenoir and South streets. If the council signs off on the deal, the city will sell the lot to Summit for $1.73 million.

Progress on the hotel is welcome news for the Raleigh Convention Center, which has seen a shortage of hotel rooms within walking distance since it opened in 2008. Bigger events often push convention center guests to more distant hotels such as the Clarion and the Glenwood South Hampton Inn.

“We’ve been able to attract conventions that have 800 people on average, and we need to attract conventions with 1,200 on average,” said Roger Krupa, director of the convention center.

Krupa said he’s also excited about the energy the Marriott Residence Inn will bring to its corner of downtown. Initial plans include an arts-themed restaurant on the ground floor as well as a rooftop bar, he said.

“It will really enhance our campus down here,” he said. “It will have a boutique feel.”

Raleigh has been hoping to get a hotel on the site for years. Before the economic downturn, developer Greg Hatem’s Empire Properties had a deal to turn the property into The Lafayette, a mix of offices, condominiums and hotel rooms. But that plan was scrapped after efforts to obtain financing collided with development deadlines from the city.

Raleigh-based Summit was selected as the site’s new developer in 2012, and city officials have been hashing out the details of the deal since. Under the terms to be presented Tuesday, the city would lease 125 parking spaces to Summit for hotel guests in the Performing Arts Deck behind the site. Summit will build an elevated walkway connecting the deck to the hotel. The city will pay for a new deck access system that lets hotel guests enter with their room keycards. And Summit will use the city’s surface parking lot in front of the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts as a construction staging area.

Once the Marriott Residence Inn opens, downtown will still have a shortage of hotel rooms, Krupa said. The convention center needs the option to reserve about 1,000 walking-distance hotel rooms; the new hotel will likely bring the total to 875.

Other downtown hotel plans could be announced soon, Krupa said, possibly including the vacant site of a tire company at McDowell and Davie streets. “The easier it is for a planner to have hotels in the immediate area adjacent to the facility, the better off we are,” he said.

Campbell: 919-829-4802; Twitter: @RaleighReporter

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