A few weeks ago, the Creek on the Blue mile committee announced their ambitious project to help revitalize a large portion of the Blue Mile district.
Since that announcement, local entrepreneurs and investors have been very active in looking for ways to invest in the project. A $20-million investment from the State of Georgia allows the dream to become a reality much quicker than any of us ever imagined.
One group of local investors operating under the name of Blue Mile Hospitality, LLC, has stepped up early and purchased the 92-room Baymont Inn & Suites on South Main Street from Cardinal Hospitality. Along with the acquisition, Blue Mile Hospitality was granted a Holiday Inn Express franchise from InterContinental Hotels Group for the redevelopment of the property.
Holiday Inn Express is the most successful franchise in the InterContinental Hotels portfolio. The hotel will incorporate the new “Formula Blue” concept by IHG, blending modern technology with an updated tasteful design.
Already one of the fastest growing brands in the surging limited-service hotel segment, opening on average two hotels per week, the Holiday Inn Express brand is seeing huge momentum with its Formula Blue design. Co-created with hotel owners and through guest input, “Formula Blue: Smart Design for Smart Travel,” was developed to drive quality and consistency for guests.
The Baymont Inn and Suites originally opened in 1998 and, ironically operated for many years as a Holiday Inn Express. Its prior owner later transitioned it into a Baymont Inn & Suites.
It will be exciting to see the hotel fully renovated and restored to its original brand. The hotel will close for approximately seven months while Lavender and Associates complete the nearly $5 million transformation.
This renovation will connect the hotel to the new promenade facing the Creek and will be adjacent to proposed new shops, restaurants and residences that will be developed along the Creek on the Blue Mile.
Another advantage of the renovation, versus new construction, is that it brings 92 new rooms of hotel inventory to the market without adding to the total number of rooms.
Often we see new hotels built increasing inventory and putting upward pressure on price and amenities. It is difficult for older hotels to compete on amenities, freshness, brand or quality so they begin competing primarily on price. The project brings new life to a hotel without dramatically shifting the number of available hotel beds in Bulloch County.
The hotel will be managed by Creekside Hospitality, LLC. Creekside's principals have more than 30 years of hotel management experience including Holiday Inns, Hiltons and Marriotts.
While both wish to remain anonymous at this time, I have reviewed the list of local investors in Blue Mile Hospitality, LLC and Creekside Hospitality, LLC management team, and none have been involved in the Creek project in any way prior to the Holiday Inn Express investment.
This is just the beginning of many more exiting projects that will be announced in the coming months influenced and inspired by the Blue Mile and the Creek on the Blue Mile initiatives.