News for the Hospitality Executive
Atlanta's Zoning Review Board Considering a Proposed 38
W Hotel and Condominiums in Buckhead
|By Walter Woods, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Oct. 18, 2003 - Buckhead's skyline may get a chic new addition as Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide plans a second W Hotel in Atlanta.
Starwood's plans call for a 38-story, 225-room hotel on the site of the Lenox Inn at 3387 Lenox Road, according to plans filed with the city of Atlanta.
The plan comes as upscale hotels throughout Atlanta slash rates to compete for customers in a struggling market.
The development also will have residential space if Starwood's request for a zoning change is approved by the city. The highest floors of the W Buckhead Hotels and Residences would have 120 condominiums. An additional 180 condos are planned for 18 floors on top of the hotel's parking structure.
The Lenox Inn, built by Lenox Square developer Ed Noble in 1963, is already being demolished to make room for the development.
The W is the second upscale hotel planned for Buckhead. InterContinental Hotels Group, parent of Holiday Inn, will open a 21-story, 400-room InterContinental hotel next to the Atlanta Financial Center on Peachtree Road in November 2004.
But that many rooms relying chiefly on business travelers will be hard to fill in a sluggish Atlanta hotel market, said Scott Smith, vice president of PKF Consulting Inc.
"The commercial transient traveler hasn't come back to Buckhead ... and Starwood and InterContinental will compete for that traveler," Smith said.
Buckhead hotels have been slashing rates this year to fill rooms, Smith said. The average daily rate in the district is about $104, which is 10 percent lower than last year.
W Buckhead will feature a 200-seat restaurant, a 33,000-square-foot spa and health club and a 3,600-square-foot ballroom, according to the plans.
The structure, designed by Atlanta architects Ai Group, also will have space for a 350-seat eatery that could be leased by a restaurateur.
Officials at Starwood's corporate offices in White Plains, N.Y., refused to give details about the project.
W is the hip brainchild of Starwood Chief Executive Officer Barry Sternlicht, said Darryl Jett, general manager of the W Atlanta, which opened in Dunwoody in 1999. Starwood is also the parent of Sheraton, Westin and other lodging brands.
"It's a boutique-style product designed to give you something different," he said.
The 5-year-old chain has 17 units in select cities such as Sydney, Australia, New York, San Francisco and New Orleans.
Starwood is seeking to change the site's 1985 zoning plan, which called for a hotel and offices totaling about 1 million square feet.
The city's Zoning Review Board will consider the request to add residential space in December.
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(c) 2003, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. HOT,