As he continues to search for financing to build an eight-story Hyatt Place hotel at Ninth and Reynolds streets, Cortland Dusseau on Monday turned to the city of Augusta for help.
Dusseau, a managing partner with Alabama-based Legacy Hospitality LLC, already has backing from the Downtown Development Authority to finance a 106-space parking garage under the hotel, but six months after a proposed groundbreaking date has no bank willing to lend money for the $25 million project.
On Monday, he asked Administrator Fred Russell to recommend the city lend its credit to an application for bond financing. Russell said, based on the numbers Dusseau presented, he wasn't ready to make the recommendation.
"The city doesn't need to be in the hotel business unless I can justify the fact that it's a good deal for us," he said.
The 139-room Hyatt Place initially was put on hold while Augusta commissioners debated construction of the adjacent downtown trade, exhibit and event center, but the city-financed TEE Center and its adjoining parking deck are now under construction.
Commission committees took no action regarding Dusseau's request, but did authorize the addition of two levels to the TEE Center parking deck.
The addition will increase the number of available spaces from 450 to 650. "The need probably exceeded what we initially thought," Russell said.
"The other factor," he said, is "the recent conversation about parking downtown."
The DDA has proposed meters and set a Jan. 24 workshop with officials on a plan to enforce parking rules itself.
The committee voted 3-0 to reprogram approximately $3 million in leftover SPLOST 5 funds for the additional levels, which will bring the deck's height to six levels and its budget to $12.2 million.