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Old 05-12-2018, 11:12 AM
 
617 posts, read 362,088 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnNada View Post
That’s a nice building. I would hope they would go that route.


I made the effort to reach out to KM Hotels Inc. in Richmond Virginia. It was a nice conversation and I have been in email contact with their planner vice president.


The takeaways from the multiple conversations:


(1) KM Hotels is intimately aware of the dynamics in Charleston and has been working for several years to establish a flagship property here...


(2) They were upset to have lost the opening on Quarrier Street at the old Holly Hotel site...


(3) I was informed that they have purchased rights to all the various Hilton brands and each is equally under consideration for the Charleston site. I mentioned that we already have an Embassy and surely they would not want to be in direct competition with that brand. I was informed it was not their Embassy and they would select the brand that would best fit the site. I took from that to mean, the location...


(4) They are aware of the sites value being between the mall and the convention center and are making their brand selection and property size based on that, I got the impression we might be looking at something on the scale of the Charleston Marriott...


(5) They have been inundated with calls and letters and emails from all of the local television and radio stations as well news outlets...


(6) All of the plans are not on the same track, a lot of the ground work has been done because of the false starts at Holly, Charleston-Kanawha Health and Fifth Quarter, but because each site was better for one brand over another, that part of the program is still being investigated...


(7) They want to move quickly...


(8) They do not have a set size for room numbers or height because some brands have stipulations built in for exterior dimensions and style...


(9) They are looking at this as a new stage in the property lineup...


(10) The Sears site has already been purchased by them...


I am sure you can each draw your own conclusions from this laundry list and I will be glad to pass anything more one when I and if I get more. But, I got the impression they were trying to keep everything close to the vest and not let out information that might limit their future choices or reveal too much too soon. It was my impression that they have not given any details to the press calls they have received.
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Old 05-12-2018, 01:12 PM
 
349 posts, read 195,274 times
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Number 4 and number 9 offer some hope. Thank you for taking the time to check into this. Dually impressed by both the questions and the answers.
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Old 05-12-2018, 01:43 PM
 
Location: 304
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That all sounds great. Hope this isn't another disappointing promise that won't come to fruition.
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Old 05-12-2018, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
106 posts, read 87,115 times
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then I'm hoping for a regular Hilton Hotel. Their rates are no more than a Marriott. Charleston could easily support a second 200+ room upscale convention headquarters hotel. They could give it a cool name like the Charleston River Hilton, Charleston Hilton and Towers, or the Charleston Town Center Hilton. I always liked the name of Cincinnati's downtown Hilton......the Netherland Hilton......but I digress. It will also jag Huntington a little because they are excited for the opening of their new Doubletree Hotel downtown and a true Hilton is definetly a step above.
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Old 05-12-2018, 04:02 PM
 
617 posts, read 362,088 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscross309 View Post
That all sounds great. Hope this isn't another disappointing promise that won't come to fruition.
I can't speak highly enough from the contacts I have had with KM Hotels Inc. Everyone I spoke to you was knowledgeable about Charleston down to know the streets and what businesses were where, but most of all they were enthusiastic about having a property in Charleston. They did not come across as stuffy and pretentious, I was very impressed! I had the impression when I hung up that I had been talking to someone from this site. I don't have any information supporting my belief, but I do not believe that the other launch failures were the fault of KM Hotels Inc. Makes me think we should be looking at some backroom dealings, because I can see the interested parties at Marriott and Embassy not wanting another big fish in the pond.
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:38 AM
 
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I certainly hope that if they are calling this a new stage in their lineup that they do construct something very different than what they have done so far. I’m really surprised that they have not had the opportunity so far though in the Richmond and Tidewater region with the massive amount of growth occurring there. Maybe a few too many red flags here for my liking but it’s a wait and see.
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Old 05-14-2018, 11:38 AM
 
Location: 304
4,976 posts, read 6,533,053 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnNada View Post
I certainly hope that if they are calling this a new stage in their lineup that they do construct something very different than what they have done so far. I’m really surprised that they have not had the opportunity so far though in the Richmond and Tidewater region with the massive amount of growth occurring there. Maybe a few too many red flags here for my liking but it’s a wait and see.
I too am concerned with the developers just now developing a “flagship” hotel, and in Charleston verses Richmond or Norfolk, etc... However Caden’s conversation gives me hope! I wonder what will become of the auto center? I could see another national brand like Pepboys occupying it. It would be better if it was redeveloped. I’d love to see some mixed use or something to attract visitors to accompany the Municipal Auditorium. What about a new Imax theater or an Alamo Draft House type concept. Even if it was government offices, it’d be better than it is now. It’s such a prime lot that it wouldn’t surprise me if Sheetz didn’t try to buy it LOL. That would be a terrible urban planning move, but Sheetz would make their money back 1000 times over!
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Old 05-15-2018, 03:32 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
106 posts, read 87,115 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caden Grace View Post
I can't speak highly enough from the contacts I have had with KM Hotels Inc. Everyone I spoke to you was knowledgeable about Charleston down to know the streets and what businesses were where, but most of all they were enthusiastic about having a property in Charleston. They did not come across as stuffy and pretentious, I was very impressed! I had the impression when I hung up that I had been talking to someone from this site. I don't have any information supporting my belief, but I do not believe that the other launch failures were the fault of KM Hotels Inc. Makes me think we should be looking at some backroom dealings, because I can see the interested parties at Marriott and Embassy not wanting another big fish in the pond.
remember the Marriott was designed to add a 10 story 150 room tower to the east of the current tower above the garage if they chose to do so. They can expand the current lobby or create a whole new lobby or even hotel concept if they so desire. With Marriott buying the Starwood brand, they could brand it not only one of the original Marriott brands (JW Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Autograph etc) but one of their newly acquired brands as well (Westin, Sheraton, W etc) The Marriott is only on the sidelines in this one if they want to be. Same for the Embassy Suites.
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:32 AM
 
617 posts, read 362,088 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscross309 View Post
I too am concerned with the developers just now developing a “flagship” hotel, and in Charleston verses Richmond or Norfolk, etc... However Caden’s conversation gives me hope! I wonder what will become of the auto center? I could see another national brand like Pepboys occupying it. It would be better if it was redeveloped. I’d love to see some mixed use or something to attract visitors to accompany the Municipal Auditorium. What about a new Imax theater or an Alamo Draft House type concept. Even if it was government offices, it’d be better than it is now. It’s such a prime lot that it wouldn’t surprise me if Sheetz didn’t try to buy it LOL. That would be a terrible urban planning move, but Sheetz would make their money back 1000 times over!


Another item from my prior conversation was used as a comparison. The Candlewood Suites in Richmond was rebranded from a Quality Inn in the extended stay property it is today. It had been completed as a Quality Inn just 5 years prior to this re-branding. It has 7 floors and 96 rooms. It has a guest rating on Yelp at 97%.


Several of the KM Properties were developed by them but a good percentage are purchased properties that they are rebranding and improving the quality levels. The current properties that they are currently building are spread across the south (mostly). But, looking at the situation from my past hotel experience I would say we are looking at a Hilton Garden Inn with lesser chances for a Tru by Hilton or Homewood Suites. I don't think the other brands come into the picture.


A Hilton Garden Inn just opened in Pikeville Kentucky. It has 113 rooms and is 9 floors. It has a bigger footprint than we have at Sears and a Tru is almost open in Radford Virginia by KM Hotels. It has 80 rooms and 4 floors but it is very spread out. From what I can see of the Tru brand it is aimed totally at the Young Adult market, whereas the Hilton Garden is aimed more at business, convention and vacationing families.


I have no further information on what we will get and from my conversations, I don't believe KM Hotels has it specified yet either. But, I do think they know the market and have a reasonable idea of what brand. I would not be surprised if it was a straight up Hilton, but I doubt it will be a Double Tree.
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Old 07-12-2018, 04:59 PM
 
617 posts, read 362,088 times
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A smallish update ---


Spoke to a few separate sources on the evolving hotel project and came away with a couple of tid-bits.


Demolition of the Sears building will begin between Labor Day and the end of September. The exact date is still a bit fluid, I assume it is based on weather or some other factor. But it may be something to do with property ownership transfer as well. I do not know for sure.


The demolition is expected to run through an 8 to 10 week period ending between Thanksgiving and Christmas.


The site will then be re-tested for any issues and I believe a density test will be done.


Site prep for new construction is supposed to run from roughly January 1 through March 1 with construction commencing sometime in March, but perhaps not until April. I do think that is weather dependent.


The current plan is for the building to not complete before end of summer 2020.


I do not have any details on the proposed build or brand.




In a some related bit of news, I was informed that a buyer is in the preliminary stages of purchasing Town Center but it would not go public for 12 months with an actual transfer date about 18 months from now, which would be January 1 2020.


Again, I know it is not much and it is unsubstantiated but the sources are solid and I believe them.
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