Hotel plans are on hold

Published 8:47 am Wednesday, October 21, 2009

FRANKLIN—Plans to build a Holiday Inn Express hotel on Armory Drive are reportedly on hold until the economy improves.

Mike Desai, who owns the Comfort Inn and the Courtland Inn with his wife, Harsha, said Friday that plans to build a 70-room hotel were still being considered.

“We are just holding the project because of the economy,” Desai said. He declined to comment further.

The hotel is proposed for a 1.85-acre lot located directly in front of Wal-Mart and between Southside Physical Therapy and Arby’s-Exxon.

The lot, which is zoned as B-3 general business, has been divided for the hotel and an outparcel that will be developed separately.

Community Development Director Donald Goodwin said Friday that the city has already approved the project.

“All of the work has been done,” Goodwin said. “They may have to go back through the building plan review to make sure the plans have incorporated any changes to the building code. (But) all of the approvals have been obtained. (The Desais) just haven’t pulled their permits.”

Goodwin said the state General Assembly recently passed legislation making any site plans approved before 2009 valid until 2014. The hotel received approvals in late 2007 and early 2008.

Plans called for the hotel to be 18,760 square feet with a 1,276-square-foot conference room. A driveway would be built off Armory Drive to allow access to the hotel and the adjacent outparcel.

“Hopefully when the economy gets back up (the hotel) will attract more rooftops to the city,” Goodwin said. “There are some developments in the wings that are waiting for the same thing. As the residential development starts to come back we’ll see more commercial as well to balance that out.”