New hotels set for Elm Hill Pike

‘Good, stable demand’ for Midstate rooms

Friday, February 18, 2011, Vol. 35, No. 7
By Judy Sarles

The new TownPlace Suites, under construction at 2700 Elm Hill Pike, is across from Thomas Nelson Publishing (background) near Donelson Pike.

-- Photo By Lyle Graves

Despite the down economy, the Nashville area is continuing to experience new hotel construction, including a couple of extended-stay hotels going up in the same vicinity on Elm Hill Pike.

One is a TownePlace Suites, a new brand to Nashville, and the other a Candlewood Suites.

“There are actually two hotels that are being built there,” says Metro Council Member Phil Claiborne, who represents District 15. “There’s one that’s coming up out of the ground, and one they’re trying to get property zoned for.”

Construction began on the TownePlace Suites at 2700 Elm Hill Pike in September 2010, and it is scheduled to open in early October of this year. It will be a four-story, 102-room hotel. TownePlace Suites is part of the Marriott family of hotels.

“This hotel is a franchise property, so Marriott does not own or manage it,” says Sara Steffanauer, a spokeswoman for Marriott International.

The hotel is being developed by LBA Hospitality of Dothan, Ala., which also will manage the property. LBA’s other properties in Tennessee are a Courtyard by Marriott in Johnson City and Homewood Suites by Hilton in Chattanooga.

Construction cost for the TownePlace Suites is about $7 million, but there will be additional costs to finish out the hotel, says Barry Kraselsky, president of LBA Hospitality. About 20 full-time and part-time employees will operate the hotel.

Kraselsky says LBA is impressed with the Nashville area and, although there are no additional hotels planned for Nashville at this time, he hopes there will be other opportunities to construct hotels in the future.

“We think there’s a good, stable demand in Nashville,” he says.

The TownePlace Suites will feature an indoor pool, exercise room, and a business center. The suites include a kitchenette and three separate spaces used as a dining area, home office, and guest room.

In the year 2000, 11 hotels opened in the Nashville area. Only two opened in 2005, while five opened in 2010, according to Smith Travel Research (STR/HotelNewsNow.Com). The properties that opened last year are Hotel Indigo (downtown), Courtyard (Goodlettsville), Comfort Suites (Mount Juliet), Candlewood Suites (Murfreesboro) and La Quinta Inn & Suites (Smyrna.)

“I think if you look at where they’re building, either the Airport area or Opryland area or downtown, there tends to be one, strong demand, and two, the demand generated by the Music City Center and the prospect of the Medical Mart make the perception of Nashville to be a stable market with good upside potential,” says Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

STR data has a 58.5 percent occupancy rate in 2009 and a 58.9 percent occupancy rate in 2010 for the Nashville Airport area (Elm Hill Pike/Opryland). Nashville’s overall occupancy rate was 47 percent in 2009 and 58.2 percent in 2010.

“Nashville continues to be a strong market for tourism,” says Greg Adkins, CEO of Tennessee Hospitality Association (TnHA). He notes that it is Nashville’s robust tourism brand, major attractions such as NFL football, and diverse business concerns are fueling the demand for hotel rooms.

The 83-room Candlewood Suites Nashville Airport at 2724 Elm Hill Pike is slated to open before the end of 2012, according to Sherry Telford of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), whose portfolio of brands includes Candlewood Suites.

The Nashville hotel will embody the latest Candlewood Suites exterior design. It will be a forward-facing rectangular building with a color scheme of light khaki, olive green, tan, and dark blue. The hotel will try to create the sense of a relaxing outdoor atmosphere through its landscaping and centrally located Gazebo Grill.

In the lobby area will be seating and a 42-inch, flat-screen television. Guests will be able to take advantage of complimentary, high-speed Internet access; free local phone calls and on-site laundry; and a 24-hour fitness center. The studio or one-bedroom guest suites will offer a full kitchen, a workspace, and a DVD and CD player for music and movies borrowed from the hotel’s lending library.

Candlewood Suites reduces water and energy consumption through the use of low-flow shower heads and toilets, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), natural light, and sodium vapor fixtures.

Candlewood also has locations in Brentwood, Murfreesboro and Clarksville, as well as Knoxville, Alcoa and Memphis.

Additional Candlewood Suites are planned for I-65 and Hwys 99/412 in Columbia, I-40 and Hartmann Drive in Lebanon, Colonnade Drive and Sam Ridley Parkway in Smyrna.