This article was originally published on timesfreepress.com.
Chattanooga's biggest hotel developer said Wednesday that its new boutique property going up near the Walnut Street Bridge is the most expensive hotel it has ever built per room.
Vision Hospitality Group chief executive Mitch Patel estimated the cost of the 90-room Edwin Hotel will come in at about $27 million, or $300,000 per unit.
Room rates when the high-end hotel opens in spring 2018 will be $200 and more per night, he said. During a building update of the five-level hotel, Patel said it will have a rooftop pool and bar, a spa, 65 new art pieces by local artists along with valet-only parking with 118 spaces on site.
"A product like this commands a higher rate," he said. "It's positioned in the upscale luxury segment."
Patel said that Vision, which has built 32 hotels and has 16 in the pipeline, has raised more expensive properties in terms of total cost, such as in Atlanta.
But, he said, company officials are confident there's room in the Chattanooga market for a hotel like The Edwin, which will be the city's largest boutique offering.
Dan Kirk, the project superintendent for builder Strauss Co., said the hotel is going to be "top of the line."
"This is Mitch's baby," he said.
While downtown Chattanooga has seen quite a few hotels constructed in the past decade or so, and even more coming, Patel said there's an untapped market that The Edwin will seize.
"There's a great opportunity for more and more couples to come to this town," he said, citing the city's growing cultural scene. In addition, there's more opportunity to woo business travelers in addition to tourists, the hotel developer said.
"We believe in this town," Patel said, calling The Edwin "a destination hotel."
Citing the hotel's location near the Walnut Street Bridge and the Tennessee River, he said the company didn't want to put just another property on the site at Walnut and Aquarium Way.
"We wanted something unique and different," he said, adding there's a market that's never visited Chattanooga because there isn't a hotel to meet their needs. "We didn't want to put something that we've already had."
Walnut Street in front of the hotel to the bridge will be remade with brick pavers and other accents to look more like Station Street near the Chattanooga Choo Choo on the Southside and feature outdoor seating for restaurant patrons, he said.
"We feel like the street deserves more," he said, though it will continue to see vehicle traffic. "It will be much safer than it is currently. It will provide a much better turning around point and a better dropping off point."
Other hotels planned for downtown include a Westin by Chattanooga businessmen Byron and Ken DeFoor on Pine Street. A hotel is being eyed for King and Market streets, The Moxie, by local hotel developer Hiren Desai.
The former Chattanooga Bank Building is slated to hold an Aloft Hotel, while another boutique offering is planned for the vacant St. George Hotel site on Market. Vision also has a Tru hotel under development on Chestnut Street.