New hotel latest sign of growth in downtown Chattanooga - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New hotel latest sign of growth in downtown Chattanooga

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Downtown Chattanooga is seeing more positive signs of growth. Construction crews broke ground on a new hotel Monday. The new Holiday Inn and Suites will be built on the corner of Chestnut and 5th streets and is slated to open in Summer of next year.

Area hotels are a part of the $1 billion tourism industry in Hamilton County. Local leaders say the latest numbers show there is continued demand for places to stay, which has developers making big investments.

Local developer Dynamic Group says it plans to build a new Holiday Inn and Suites on Chestnut Street. The seven story building will have two levels for parking, 140 rooms and 5,000 square feet of space for a restaurant and bar.

"We took a lot of time to calculate what is the best place, what is the best brand," says Roshan Amin, managing director of the project.

He says they do not take the $19 million investment lightly.

"During the national downturn the Chattanooga market did pretty well and now the overall economy is going up, so we're going to do a little better," says project manager Bob Bhaget.

"People have confidence in this city and they should," says Kim White, President and CEO of River City Company.

White points to other projects, like converting the downtown 'gold building' into a Westin hotel as major progress.

"We are reaching that point where there's a lot of hotels downtown but I think our occupancy rate is very good," she says.

The latest figures from Smith Travel Research show in March, area hotels were 62 percent occupied.

"That means our attractions, our restaurants, retail, everybody in town involved in the tourism industry is doing better," says Bob Doak, President and CEO of the Chattanooga Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

Doak says from 2010 to 2013, hotel revenues have jumped by 33 percent. He says there was a 'flattening out' period, but there has been steady growth within the last 6 months.

"It's a key industry to this community, driving about $20 million worth of local sales tax, 10 million of which goes into the county school system," says Doak.

He says as Chattanooga continues to book citywide events like the Ironman, growth will only continue.

"I applaud these developers for saying something is happening in Chattanooga and things will continue to get even better as we go along," says Doak.

Doak says Hamilton County tax payers pay $500 less in taxes every year because of the tourism industry.

The new Holiday Inn and Suites is slated to open in May of 2015 and is expected to employ around 80 people.
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