City of Anderson Move Forward with Hotel Plans


City of Anderson moves forward with hotel site plans

April 14, 2008

By Heidi Cenac

Anderson City Council members on Monday night unanimously voted to move ahead with plans to build a hotel at the former Belk site.

David Agnew of Civic Square told council members he is planning a minimum 50-room hotel for the site. His current design would face the hotel lobby, two retail spaces, a restaurant and bar and parking entrance onto Whitner Street. A 5,000-square-foot meeting space would be located inside the hotel’s first floor and access a pedestrian square behind the building.

A 75-space parking garage would be located below the building, while hotel rooms would fill second and third floor.

Hotel companies aren’t screaming to be downtown, Mr. Agnew said, but he’s already pitching downtown’s ability to fill rooms. The Belk site is about a mile from Anderson University, within walking distance of AnMed Health, only six miles from Interstate 85 and 18 miles from Clemson University.

A downtown hotel also would be convenient to work crews and executives visiting plants in southern Anderson County, he said.

Dan McKinney, a member of the Main Street Program’s Economic Restructuring Committee, said he believes the number of people visiting plants would easily fill the hotel’s base load to be profitable. Weddings would add a second tier of business followed by everyday visitors who would rather stay downtown.

“I think collectively Anderson will support it,” said Steve Kay, who’s developed a handful of downtown properties. “If we could get commitments from industry that would go a long way toward creating an occupancy level to make it work.”

Soliciting private sector support is one of many steps Mr. Agnew and city officials will take over the next year. During that time, Mr. Agnew also plans to determine the square footage for each component and put a price tag on the construction cost.

If all goes well, construction could start in summer or fall of 2009 and the hotel could open by fall 2010.

“It is a long-term project,” Mr. Agnew said. “The site is extremely important to the future of downtown Anderson… so if it takes longer to make the right thing happen, I think that’s time well spent.”


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