Vacant downtown hotel to become Holiday Inn

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A vacant downtown hotel building will soon get a major face-lift.

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The vacant Regency Inn will be gutted, and buildings around it will be torn down. An opening is planned for July 2011.   Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
The vacant Regency Inn will be gutted, and buildings around it will be torn down. An opening is planned for July 2011.

Local engineer and businessman T.R. Reddy plans to transform the former Regency Inn at 444 Broad St. into a Holiday Inn Express & Suites by July 2011.

Reddy bought 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. Reddy 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, Executive Director Margaret Woodard said.

"It would be a great project for that end of the block, the gateway coming in from Olde Town. We're excited about the project and hope 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 building was constructed in 1965, so it could qualify as a certified historic structure, said Erick Montgomery, the executive director of Historic Augusta.

The group will work with Reddy to determine whether the building meets the criteria. If so, 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 -- Comfort Inn & Suites on Noland Connector Drive -- Reddy plans for the Holiday Inn to be a "green" building and meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

It will contain geothermal air conditioning, designed to use only 15 percent of the power normally used to operate air-conditioning units. It also will use solar systems to reduce water-heating expenses and other power costs.

Comfort Inn & Suites was the area's first green hotel, Reddy said.

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corgimom
33161
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corgimom 03/13/10 - 12:38 am
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0
A hotel built in 1965 is a

A hotel built in 1965 is a historic structure? By that criteria, so are thousands of homes in A-RC. Homeowners, start applying for your grants.

mike71345
75
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mike71345 03/13/10 - 02:01 am
0
0
"...hasn't been used as a

"...hasn't been used as a hotel for a decade."
It just looks that way. Check out these reviews from just a couple or three years ago--
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g29212-d142216-Reviews-Regency_I...
Some highlights:
'It smelled of mold and decay. I asked for clean linen and of course they did not have any available. The linen was filthy. I could not sleep. A tent in the woods would have been better.'
'The whole place smells musty, the water is tepid at best, NO ice machines, NO microwaves, the sink fixture base was corroded to a bright green, the ancient telephone in the room was filthy - so encrusted with crud that when trying to press the buttons they were not usable.'
'For instance on the third floor, (the last floor you could get on, which was weird because there we 6 floors), we walked up and first saw a door with a hang written sign saying "Beware of dog. Do not enter" and a couple feet after the door I noticed bloody hand smudges on the wall. Not joke. It was quite possibly the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced.'
I'm glad to hear Downtown is getting fixed up again.

sjgraci
2
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sjgraci 03/13/10 - 04:35 am
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0
It's about time! Either they

It's about time! Either they gutted it to the studs or the whole place should have been imploded years ago.

The saddest story I remember from at least 5 Masters ago was from a very wealthy gentleman who owns a golf resort in WI who was unfortunate enough to have his assistant book a room in the cockroach infested crack house dump that was the Regencey Inn. It was the only place available at the last minute when he got tickets. I met him in a restaurant and apologized profusely about his accommodations and assured him that Augusta really does have some 4 star establishments. He was a world traveler and understood and said he should have known better when there was any hotel within 100 miles of Augusta that still had vacancy during Masters Week. He was a good sport and probably enjoyed the adventure.

Good ridance Regency Inn!

Brad Owens
4583
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Brad Owens 03/13/10 - 06:09 am
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This is great news. Source

This is great news. Source of too much trouble in the past ten years. The interesting part is that this property sold for almost $600,000.00, I can't frigging believe that one.

Riverman1
84909
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Riverman1 03/13/10 - 11:30 am
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Maybe there's value in the

Maybe there's value in the steel structure?

mike71345
75
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mike71345 03/13/10 - 12:33 pm
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After having lived in Olde

After having lived in Olde Town, I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear in a couple months that funding fell through, and the developer says he has no choice but to turn it into Section 8 housing. Seriously, though, is the city going to invest in cleaning that area up and keeping it cleaned up? Drug dealers, prostitutes, panhandlers -- they are there right now, so what changes in law enforcement does the city plan on making?

countyman
20236
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countyman 03/13/10 - 01:58 pm
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The hotel will do fine.

The hotel will do fine. Vacant buildings are a place for sketchy people. Turning them into vibrant areas makes them go away. The foot traffic, vehicle traffic, lights, etc from the new hotel. Not to mention the other businesses that will open up near the hotel.

mike71345
75
Points
mike71345 03/13/10 - 02:10 pm
0
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It was a sketchy area even

It was a sketchy area even when the hotel was open. There is already foot traffic there. Again, please walk down some night under the Gordon Highway overpass which is right next to the hotel, and see for yourself.
This hotel plan is great, but only if the city government starts doing its part in that area.

countyman
20236
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countyman 03/14/10 - 01:14 pm
0
0
The regency inn was a dump

The regency inn was a dump the last years it was open. I MEAN a constant flow of foot traffic. Similar to upper Broad streets. 4th at Broad is nowhere near as vibrant like 10th and 11th streets at Broad. The hotel will turned Lower Broad into Upper Broad in terms of being vibrant. I know several people who live in Olde Town. And I live on Broad street in downtown.

mike71345
75
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mike71345 03/14/10 - 12:46 am
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Oh you live Downtown, but not

Oh you live Downtown, but not in Olde Town? Wow, just like Matt Aitken.

mike71345
75
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mike71345 03/14/10 - 12:48 am
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I think we both agree then

I think we both agree then that the 400 block of Broad is not the place to be. I hope the hotel does improve that area.

baronvonreich
0
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baronvonreich 03/14/10 - 02:29 am
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Mike it isn't the city's

Mike it isn't the city's responsibility or right to spend taxpayer money to "invest" or clean up that area of Broad St or anywhere else in Richmond County. They need to enforce the current laws which they don't. Look at the feet dragging on the Chronic Nuisance Property ordinance.

mike71345
75
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mike71345 03/14/10 - 10:32 am
0
0
baron, that is exactly what i

baron, that is exactly what i mean. I have paid taxes in olde town for 8 years. i pay taxes to the city for no other reason than to receive city services in return - law enforcement, maintenance of the public right of way. understand? not fixing up an old hotel. I'm not sure how i gave the opposite impression. one thing our tax money is not going to is law enforcement in that area. that is part that the city needs to start doing.

countyman
20236
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countyman 03/14/10 - 01:21 pm
0
0
Olde Town, Harrisburg,

Olde Town, Harrisburg, Medical District, Laney Walker, East Augusta, and Paine College area, etc. They're all apart of downtown but NONE are in the CBD. They all have their own seperate identities away from downtown(CBD). They just got added to downtown in 2007-2008. I live in the CBD downtown.

countyman
20236
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countyman 03/14/10 - 01:24 pm
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Artist Row is the only area

Artist Row is the only area in the CBD. That has its own seperate identity.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 03/14/10 - 02:43 pm
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wait, we DIDNT have to spent

wait, we DIDNT have to spent millions in taxpayer money to attract private investment? D'oh!

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 03/14/10 - 02:52 pm
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I bet the Hyatt Place will

I bet the Hyatt Place will end up being a Motel 6.. just watch and see

countyman
20236
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countyman 03/14/10 - 03:33 pm
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Emerydan... At first you said

Emerydan... At first you said the Hyatt wasn't even going to be built.

disssman
6
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disssman 03/14/10 - 03:48 pm
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Do I dare say I smell

Do I dare say I smell corporate welfare. Actually, if the building is bought and renovated at personal expense it is a wonderful idea. But, given the track record of the DDA, I would doubt it.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 03/15/10 - 02:03 am
0
0
still no ground breaking for

still no ground breaking for the supposed Hyatt Place.. we will see..

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