A vacant, downtown hotel building will soon get a major facelift.
Local engineer and businessman T.R. Reddy plans to transform the former Regency Inn hotel at 444 Broad St. into a Holiday Inn Express & Suites by July 2011.
Reddy purchased the property at auction last year for $588,500. He plans to spend $5 million or more to renovate the building, which hasn't been used as a hotel for a decade.
"Everything will be gutted to the bare bones. Only the steel structure will be used. We will tear down all the buildings around ... it's a total revamping," Reddy said. "I'm optimistic about the location. I'm very confident that it will do well, and it will clean up the area."
The current building has 160 rooms. When the project is finished, it will have 100 rooms, 80 hotel rooms and 20 luxury suites. - plus a conference room. He will demolish a small building at the rear of the hotel.
Reddy is working with Atlanta-based Tirella Associates on architectural plans. He said construction should begin in six months.
The Downtown Development Authority of Augusta will meet with Reddy next week to begin searching for financing for the project, said executive director Margaret Woodard.
"It would be a great project for that end of the block. The gate way coming in from Olde Towne. We're excited about the project and hopes it comes into fruition," Woodard said. "The Downtown Development Authority appreciates Mr. Reddy's investment in downtown, and he's got a reputation as being a great hotel operator."
The hotel building was built in 1965, so it could possibly qualify as a certified historic structure, said Erick Montgomery, executive director of Historic Augusta.
Historic Augusta will work with Reddy to determine if the building meets the criteria. If the project meets the criteria, it could be eligible for historic preservation tax credits, Montgomery said.
Reddy said he selected Holiday Inn over other interested brands, such as Comfort Inn and Country Inn, because he thought it was the "best brand" for the project.
Like his finished hotel project at Comfort Inn & Suites on Noland Connector Drive, Reddy plans for the Holiday Inn hotel to be a green building and meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
It will contain geothermal air conditioning, designed to use only 15 percent of the power normally used to operate air conditioning units. Also, it will use solar systems to reduce water, heating and power costs.
Comfort Inn & Suites was the area's first green hotel, Reddy said.