Originally created 05/26/06

Two hotels will rise in one's place



The days and hotel stays at Augusta Inn & Conference Center are numbered.

The old Stevens Creek Road hotel could be demolished as early as the year's end to make room for two new facilities.

"All good things sometimes have to come to an end," said Surinder Jit Singh, the lead developer of the hotel project.

Mr. Singh received the building permit Thursday to begin construction on a Hilton Garden Inn, which could be completed as early as Masters Week 2007.

To make room for the hotel, two of the Augusta Inn's five buildings have been leveled.

Halfway into the Hilton construction, builders will start on a 150-room Sheraton Hotel, tentatively scheduled to open Masters Week 2008.

Both full-service hotels will cost more than $10 million to build and should yield 55 new jobs each, Mr. Singh said. They will include such amenities as restaurants and indoor pools.

Mr. Singh is part of Stevens Creek Hospitality LLC, which purchased Augusta Inn in July 2004. The plan always has been to demolish the old hotel, formerly a Holiday Inn.

"That property really did good in the old days, but it's about time to move along," Mr. Singh said.

Currently, the hotel is operating 149 of its 250 rooms. It will close entirely late this year or early next year.

It is just one of a few aging hotels on Washington Road that is seeing improvements. Augusta Suites is going through renovations in order to attract a brand-name hotel company, said Jennifer Bowen, the vice president of public relations for the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"Any time we have a hotel property make renovations or become a new property, it's certainly a benefit," she said. "Visitors want new rooms."

The Augusta Inn's developers announced earlier this month a $5 million renovation of the Augusta Towers Hotel & Convention Center for its conversion to a Doubletree. They also opened a new Holiday Inn in Columbia County in November.

Reach Tony Lombardo at (706) 823-3227 or tony.lombardo@augustachronicle.com.