Bennett and J.P. Singh, regional director of development and operations for Duke Hospitality, have said they expect the formal closing on the sale of the West Third Street property, where the hotel will be constructed, to take place March 8.
Bennett told the Rome City Commission that the closing was delayed to allow for the development of a master site plan, which is called for in the Memorandum of Understanding. The original site plans are nowhere near specific enough to be considered a plan that can be recorded and referenced in deeds for the property, he said.
Geo-Hydro has been selected by the city of Rome to do soil borings at the site, which also are required under the MOU.
It is still not clear when groundbreaking for the project will take place. Singh said final plans for the hotel are still on the drawing board.
“Any time you do a custom hotel it tends to take a little bit longer for the design phase,” Singh said. “Although we have approval for the franchise now, there still may be some minor tweaks that come up down the road as we really start getting into the detailed architectural drawings.”
Marriott will still have to approve design work throughout the process.
Singh said Duke Hospitality is working to open another hotel in Duluth this spring and another hotel property in Conyers this summer. Once those are complete, Duke will devote its full attention to the Rome hotel. The MOU calls for ground to be broken on the project before the end of the year, and Singh said Duke will easily meet that deadline.