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Village Vision News

Village resident ‘thrilled’ her company will build hotel here

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Residence Inn Forsyth

Artist’s rendering of The Residence Inn by Marriott, to be located at 230 Lucile Ave., courtesy of Tharaldson Hospitality Management and Lightowler Johnson Associates.

Aimee FykeAimee Fyke is chief operating officer at Tharaldson Hospitality Management. Tharaldson is the company planning to build a new Residence Inn by Marriott in the open field adjacent to Lowe’s.

Fyke has been in the hotel business for 22 years, and she’s been around to build more than 300 hotels in that time for her company, but no project has her more excited than this one. Why? That’s an easy one to answer. It’s because this is her home.

“I live in Forsyth, and I’m from Decatur,” she said. “My kids are from here. I love this town. We are thrilled to have this opportunity right here in Forsyth.”

And, according to Fyke, so are the folks at Marriott, who have for years wanted to give their loyal customers another property to choose from when they travel to the Forsyth-Decatur area.

“I opened the first Marriott property here, The Fairfield Inn, back in 1990 as general manager,” Fyke said. “They (Marriott) have been begging to have another property here for years.”

It will probably be near the beginning of August before the first shovel of dirt is turned at the Lucile Avenue site, beginning a process that Fyke said should take anywhere from nine to 12 months, depending on the weather, to complete.

The four-story, 96-room hotel will have studio, 1- and 2-bedroom options with full kitchens. Bathrooms with walk-in showers or equipped with tubs will be optional for travelers, who were described by Tharaldson’s Dave Floodman, in his May 6 presentation to the Forsyth Board of Trustees, as “higher-end clientele.”

Currently, the vacant lot generates about $3,600 in property taxes. The proposed development should generate more than $100,000 in property taxes that would be divided among 10 different taxing districts (see accompanying table for breakdown of distribution of property taxes).

Fyke said this project will have a real focus on local people from start to finish.

“We want to hire as much locally as we can,” she said. “We want to hire local subcontractors and local staff, and our financing is also local through Hickory Point Bank.”

Two ordinances were approved by the Board on May 6 to allow relief sought by Tharaldson for (1) re-zoning of the property and (2) to accommodate an increase in building height restriction from 35 feet to a mean height of 48 feet and a maximum height of nearly 53 feet. Building the hotel up four stories will give it greater visibility from a distance; it is a block or so off of Route 51.

“These hotels are always a great improvement for the businesses (already established and located nearby),” Floodman said in his presentation, adding that the need for four stories rather than three was also to leave a smaller footprint.

“There will be more green space, and it will be more energy-efficient than if we had to go three stories and spread the design out,” he said.

Bill Busbey, chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, spoke briefly at the May 6 board meeting and recommended unanimous approval by the board. Busbey’s commission recommended board approval for both ordinances to help move the project forward, with a dissenting vote on the height variance by member Colleen Brinkoetter.

Trustee Bob Rasho motioned to approve. Trustee Kerstin Trachtenberg seconded, and it was approved by all.

“I think it will be a real positive addition to our community,” Mayor Marilyn Johnson said.

Taxing District Empty Lot Comparable Projection
Conservation District $53 $1,734 $1,681
Cooperative Extension $12 $407 $394
County Health & Mental Service $127 $4,138 $4,012
County Tax $500 $16,358 $15,858
Decatur Sanitary $144 $4,711 $4,567
Hickory Point Fire $131 $4,290 $4,159
Hickory Point Township $176 $5,766 $5,589
Maroa/Forsyth School District $2,104 $68,814 $66,710
Richland Community College $250 $8,183 $7,932
Village of Forsyth $188 $6,158 $5,970
TOTAL TAX REVENUE $3,685 $120,559 $116,872

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