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Sheraton Hotel Downtown Launching $20M Renovation

September 26,2014

via Atlanta Business Chronicle

Amy Wenk
Staff Writer- Atlanta Business Chronicle

Atlanta’s sixth-largest hotel is launching a $20 million renovation just as the city sees its lodging demand soar.

The Sheraton Atlanta, a 763-room convention hotel in downtown, just kicked off a project to update its exterior facade, public spaces and guest rooms. Work will be done in phases, with the goal of finishing in 2015, the same year the hotel on Courtland Street celebrates 50 years in business.

“In order to remain competitive, we have to continue to update our property,” said Niles Harris, the hotel’s general manager. “It’s all about remaining competitive.”

Local leaders want to capture rising demand for hotel rooms. Atlanta now leads the Top 25 U.S. markets in occupancy growth (see page 12A). Harris said the Sheraton is seeing its highest occupancy levels in his six years there. Year to date through August, occupancy has soared to north of 70 percent, he said.

Sheraton owner Amerimar Enterprises Inc. will fund the renovation, the hotel’s first update since 2009 when it spent about $15 million, Harris said.

First on the to-do list is to give the hotel new curb appeal. The Sheraton’s signature entrance tent (called the porte-cochere) is being replaced to give the hotel’s front drive a new look. Already, it has torn down the previous structure, which was 12 years old, and plans to start building a new, more traditional one in October.

“This tent is a bit of a landmark in the city,” Harris said. “We are doing something that is unique and will set us apart.”

That initial eight-week, $600,000 project also will create a new 1,400-square-foot outdoor rooftop that will offer event space with views of the Atlanta skyline. It will boost the hotel’s existing 90,000 square feet of meeting space.

Future improvements will freshen up the Sheraton’s guest rooms, replace carpeting, resurface the pool, paint the courtyard and add VIP areas to the hotel’s Fandangles Restaurant and Bar.

“For us, it’s about feeling good about the property,” Harris said.

With new hotel development well below historic averages in Atlanta, millions of dollars are being spent to renovate and rehab older properties in hopes of luring more travelers.

Last year, Atlanta welcomed a record 45 million visitors. That number could grow as the city welcomes new attractions such as the College Football Hall of Fame, which opened last month, and the new $1.2 billion Atlanta Falcons stadium, planned for 2017.