Business

A new hotel is coming to Perry, just not on fairgrounds. Here’s the plan.

A hotel developer who had hoped to build on the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter is now planning to build a hotel nearby.

Bran Hospitality had a preliminary deal to build a Hilton Garden Inn next to the Miller-Murphy-Howard Building at the fairgrounds, but that fell through over the state’s requirement for a bond to ensure the hotel is completed.

Now the company is planning to build a Hilton Garden Inn on property it owns near the fairgrounds, according to a release. The hotel will be built on property adjacent to the Hampton Inn, which the company owns, off Ball Street at Interstate 75, north of the fairgrounds. Once the new hotel is completed, the Hampton will undergo a full renovation, including adding a fifth floor.

The new hotel will have 94 rooms, a full restaurant, bar and banquet space.

“We already have the land and the Hilton franchise,” Bran CEO Shrad Amrit said in the release. “This makes more sense for us in terms of independent management and building a future for our company.”

Meanwhile, the Georgia Agriculture Exposition Authority, which manages the fairgrounds, has reopened the bidding process to build a hotel on the fairgrounds. Stephen Shimp, the executive director of the fairgrounds, said developers have until Oct. 1 to submit a proposal.

Bran Hospitality was the only bidder in the previous request for proposals, but Shimp said he remains hopeful one or more companies will make an offer this time. He said there has been some interest and developers have visited the fairgrounds.

He also said he does not believe the new hotel being planned will deter interest in building a hotel on the fairgrounds.

“The more hotels in Perry the better,” he said. “We’ve got a shortage here.”

A fairgrounds hotel is sought to create a true conference center. Shimp said many conferences go elsewhere because of a preference to have a hotel directly attached to the conference area.

The fairgrounds is looking for a developer to pay the costs of building the hotel, and the fairgrounds would lease the land. Shimp said it’s the same arrangement, including the bond requirement, that the state uses to build hotels on Jekyll Island.

Wayne Crenshaw has worked as a journalist since 1990 and has been a reporter for The Telegraph since 2002. He holds a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Georgia College and is a resident of Warner Robins.
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