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New 10-story hotel to be built on West Main St.

Construction expected to start this fall

<p>The hotel would be located on West Main Street, near the Corner and the University Hospital.&nbsp;</p>

The hotel would be located on West Main Street, near the Corner and the University Hospital. 

DC-based development firm Carr City Centers announced this week it has secured a $25.8 million loan to build a luxury hotel at 1106 West Main Street, close to the Corner and the University Hospital.

The 10-story building, which will be a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel, will have 150 guestrooms and suites.

According to the Carr City Centers’ website, the hotel will also feature 3,000 square feet of meeting spaces, a fitness center and a business center. The ground floor will hold a 4,000 square-foot restaurant and there will be three stories of parking for hotel and restaurant guests.

City Council approved the hotel’s construction in January 2015, and plans for a hotel on this particular site dates back to 2009.

“[The Board of Architectural Review] began review of this particular hotel in 2014, but previously saw plans for a different hotel proposed on this site in 2009,” May Joy Scala, a preservation and design planner for the city of Charlottesville, said in an email statement.

The hotel’s spot on West Main Street is convenient for accessing the hospital, University and downtown areas.

Brian Haluska, a principal planner for the city, said the hotel will house many hospital patients who travel from far away to access the health system’s services.

“The hospital is a big driver of hotel stays, people coming in for surgeries or to visit doctors,” Haluska said. “It’s the only level three trauma center in the region, so people come from hours away in some cases.”

The hotel’s location is likely to lend a hand to its future success. A profitable hotel typically has an average of 40 percent occupancy within a year, but Haluska said the demand for lodging for weekends during different sporting and University events will help the hotel reach its goal.

“If you factor in move-in weekend, the football schedule, even the basketball schedule now over the last few years and graduation weekends, there’s a number of weekends where you’re probably going to be at almost maximum capacity,” he said.

Austin Flajser, the president of Carr City Centers, presented to the City Council in January 2015. The development company decided to choose the spot due to the growth of the West Main Street area and the location’s proximity to Grounds and the hospital.

“It’s at the nexus of the two greatest demand-generators,” Flajser said. “We feel like we’ve got a plan that really embodies the city’s vision for West Main Street and specifically an active, urban-planned West Main Street.”

Construction on the hotel is set to begin this fall and will last for a little over a year. The building process should have minimal effects to traffic around the University and hospital, Scala said.

“Construction usually impacts the adjacent streets — in this case W Main and 11th Street, which is narrow,” Scala said.

The 11th Street access to Main Street may be slow for a few weeks at the beginning of construction, but will still allow pedestrian and vehicle access for the hospital and its workers. Although automotive access will be more limited for a couple of weeks as the construction begins, emergency vehicles accessing the hospital through 11th Street rather than typical access points will still be able to use the road.

“One of the important things that we stressed to [the builders] in the pre-construction meeting was, this needs to stay open for pedestrians, and there needs to be automotive access through here,” Haluska said. “In the unlikely event that something happens to one of the other access ways, we do want ambulances, if they have to get through here, that they can, and [the builders are] committed to doing that.”

According to a recent report from the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the demand for more hotels in Charlottesville increased 10.2 percent since 2015. Haluska said there has been a higher demand in lodging and more requests to build hotels in the city of Charlottesville within recent years.

“We’re a popular tourist location, a popular wedding location in the fall, so there’s a number of things that I think drive people to visit the area and the demand for hotel rooms in general,” Haluska said. “That’s why we’re seeing a big boom in that.”