COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Construction work is underway on Broadway in Columbus, creating two new hotels.
A Hampton Inn and an A.C. Marriott are expected within the next year, and soon, Front Avenue will be seeing construction too--- a renovation and expansion coming to the Marriott.
Officials said the plan is to add just under 100 rooms, completely renovate the existing structure, and add a sky bridge. This is in addition to the three hotels being built in Uptown.
“I think we may look back in 10 to 15 years or more and point to this as one of the most key events to take place in our community. This is a true game-changer,” Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson.
9th Street and Front Avenue, home to the Columbus Convention and Trade Center, and the Marriott Hotel are expecting big changes.
Just like the two new hotels coming to downtown, the Marriott is adding more rooms to the hotel scene near the trade center.
“Soon, we can market we’re a city that has over 700 rooms within walking distance to the convention hotel,” said Hayley Tillery, executive director of the Columbus Convention and Trade Center.
“Plus, a sky-bridge, which connects the hotel to our convention center, which our meeting planners are telling us is essential, especially during the heat of the summer that we are just now starting to get over,” said Peter Bowden, president and CEO of Visit Columbus GA.
Tillery said the goal is to attract bigger conferences.
“That’s a big deal because those people will visit our community, fall in love with it, and they will come back and spend time here,” Henderson said.
“The benefit to the city is that obviously restaurants are impacted, entertainment venues are impacted, our service industry is impacted,” Bowden added.
Unique attractions are also impacted. Bowden said Whitewater rafting and zip-lining also draw in visitors.
Records show more than 500 meetings in Columbus last year brought in $27.4 million. Bowden said the expansion of the Marriott alone is expected to add to that number by five to ten percent.
“And frankly, it’s part of our mission either to recycle those people who are here for conventions to come back as a leisure traveler,” Bowden said. "Or maybe they will come in a little earlier, or stay a little later because once their convention is over, they’ve got some cool stuff to do.”
News Leader 9 has it on good authority that another hotel is coming downtown, but the builders aren’t ready to release details to the public just yet.
We will have them on air and online as soon as they are released.