Berry College revealed plans for a new hotel adjacent to the Rome Tennis Center on Thursday.
In a brief statement Director of Public Relations Chris Kozelle said, “We have engaged Hotel Equities, which works closely with widely recognized top-tier hotel brands.”
Kozelle said the hotel would be a “best-in-class branded hotel,” to open sometime in 2021. She said an announcement with additional details, including the hotel’s brand, would be made within two to three months.
Hotel Equities, according to their website, is a fee-based management and development firm.
The college itself is tackling the project as the lead developer.
Berry Vice President for Finance Brian Erb said he does not necessarily envision the hotel as being a full conference center. However, the success of the tennis center, coupled with the numerous events at the college — such as conferences, camps or visiting athletic teams — makes it looks like a worthwhile investment.
“The timing is great to pursue a hotel on that site,” he said.
Hotel Equities, working with Berry, is exploring different branding options for the hotel. The college has not gone far enough yet to determine a budget for the project.
Berry does not offer a major related to hospitality management, but Erb said this might present an opportunity for some sort of option for students interested in that industry.
“If the hotel is built as well as The Spires, there is a great opportunity for students to have some sort of exposure to hospitality management,” Erb said. “It turns out the Hotel Equities group is very excited about training students as well because they hire a lot of students into their management program, so there are a lot of potential synergies.”
A hotel has always been in the master plan for the acreage surrounding the tennis center.
When the Armuchee Connector was built, it created a tract of approximately 80 acres that was cut off from Berry’s old river farm property.
“Hopefully this will lead to other development opportunities in and around the tennis center and over to Mount Berry Mall,” said City Manager Sammy Rich.
Georgia’s Rome Office of Tourism Executive Director Lisa Smith said she was not aware of all of the details of the project, but did say she had advised Berry that a 100-room hotel would be most beneficial. Erb confirmed that the college was looking at between 90 and 100 rooms for the project.
“As we go down the road looking at more collegiate events, especially with the relationships Ann Hortman has developed with the different conferences, we are going to be looking at several different collegiate events so 100 rooms would be ideal,” Smith said. “Those rooms need to be configured in a way that there are more doubles.”
A hotel so close to the tennis center would be ideal to house as many of the various teams that come to town as possible, Smith said.
Additional rooms would be critical to even being able to bid on some tournaments.
Tennis Center Executive Director Tom Daglis said he believes the hotel will be a tremendous addition to the complex.
“This will help with the promotion of future events here and facilitate our tournament needs. We look forward to working closely with them,” Daglis said. “I think Berry will benefit in several ways.”
Berry has not disclosed the specific site for the hotel, however the master plan has always included a tract just to the right of Match Point Way.