Tuscaloosa City Council OKs 6-Story Extended Stay Hotel Off Jack Warner Parkway
The Tuscaloosa City Council greenlit the development of a new six-story extended stay hotel on Jack Warner Parkway at their weekly meeting Tuesday night.
The hotel concept will be new to the Tuscaloosa market -- an 94-room, six-story Element by Westin.
The hotel will be built near the intersection of Jack Warner Parkway and 21st Avenue, in a now-vacant lot behind what used to be the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama's headquarters across the street from Synovus Plaza.
A July 2022 proposal submitted to the city's Planning Department promises "a unique hotel project" that will aim to provide a "smarter, better" environment for guests looking to spend more than a couple of nights in the Druid City.
"A part of the Westin Portfolio, Element is transforming the extended stay segment with bright, modern design, eco-conscious practices and an innovate guest experience that resonates with today's traveler," Sentell Engineering's Joshua Bonner wrote in the proposal. "Element offers longer stay comfort with conscience and thoughtful signature amenities, from its complimentary healthy Rise breakfast and Relax evening reception, to 24-7 Motion Fitness centers, electric vehicle charging stations, and Element's Bikes to Borrow program."
This is the second time the council has approved this project -- they greenlit the same design in the same place in Fall 2020, but the resolution passed back then only allowed developers 12 months to begin construction without going through the whole process again, and that deadline was missed.
Now the project has again been reviewed by the council's Admin committee, the planning and zoning committee and the full council, who on Monday unanimously gave the final approval for construction to begin, although only five of the seven city council members were present for the vote.
The hotel is set to feature five above-ground floors and one basement level, which will house hotel operations and five rooms to rent. The other 89 rooms will be spread throughout the upper five floors.
The hotel design did draw some humorous criticism from Mayor Walt Maddox during a pre-council briefing Monday afternoon, where renderings showed an extremely orange brick exterior.
"I know that architecture is in the eye of the beholder, but is it going to be that ugly?" Maddox joked. "I don't think orange is a good look for the city of Tuscaloosa."
Ashley Crites, the city's Executive Director of Urban Development, assured the mayor that the developers plan to build with a red brick that closely matches the traditional downtown Tuscaloosa look, and that the almost offensive orange exterior in some snapshots was simply the result of non-exact 3D rendering.