By Paul Gattis
Construction has started on a new hotel in downtown Huntsville, a project long delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hotel also grew bigger during the delay.
The Autograph Collection by Marriott will be built at the southwest corner of the reconstructed parking garage on Monroe Street across from the Von Braun Center’s Propst Arena. The hotel, originally approved by the city council in March 2019, planned to have six floors and 187 rooms.
Updated plans show the hotel with eight floors and more than 200 rooms.
The $40 million project will have a rooftop bar overlooking Big Spring Park as well as two-full service restaurants and conference/banquet space.
The hotel is expected to be completed by late next year or early 2024.
Ascent Hospitality of Buford, Ga., is the project developer. The city council in 2020 sold 0.734 acres to the developers at a cost of $1.6 million. The land was formerly included in the original parking garage.
The Autograph will be the latest in a hotel growth spurt in the downtown district while developers have announced plans for two more hotels at other nearby projects. Three hotels have opened downtown since March 2019 – AC Hotel by Marriott on Williams Street, Jefferson 106 (a Curio by Hilton brand) on Jefferson Street and Hampton Inn at Monroe Street and Clinton Avenue.
A hotel is also planned as part of a $325 million development known as Front Row at the former site of the Coca-Cola bottling plant on Clinton Avenue. And a Moxy hotel adjacent to the AC Hotel is planned for the third phase of CityCentre.
City officials have worked for years to boost downtown Huntsville’s inventory of hotel rooms to accommodate larger conferences at the Von Braun Center.
The rebuilt parking garage, which will wrap around parts of the Autograph hotel, included plans for guest parking at the hotel and the Hampton Inn on the northern side.