MEMPHIS, Tenn (localmemphis.com) - Plans for a boutique hotel in Overton Square are raising questions about parking in the area. On Monday, developers submitted plans for the $24 million project to the Office of Planning and Development.
As Local 24 has reported, the projected was developed by Loeb Properties in partnership with LRC2 Properties and MMI Hotel Group.
Plans show the hotel is slated for what's currently a 1.3-acre parking lot to the north of Hattiloo Theater. The current lot offer's free parking to visitors in the area. It's a perk people look forward to versus having to pay for valet or feed a meter or park in the nearby garage.
"No, I don't want to park in that parking garage," said Cordova resident Stephanie Nikbakht. "I'd rather park down a side street or some other parking lot or have to pay that parking garage!"
A lot of people feel the way she does.
If you visit the area, you know things can get congested. Often a driver must do laps around the area if they want to wait for a free parking space to open.
As for the hotel, it will be designed for Marriott's boutique soft brand, Tribute Portfolio. The design is said to match Overton Square's unique architecture and high-end finishes that incorporate local historic imagery.
In a press release Loeb Properties said the hotel here will have expressive design moments, vibrant public spaces, as well as food and beverage services that include a rooftop bar overlooking Overton Square.
What is not addressed is additional parking.
According to the plans submitted, the parking lot at Trimble and Cooper will belong to the hotel, including any remaining parking spots.
"Parking is already a pain in the rear," said Nikbakht. "It really is. I think adding a hotel is going to make it even worse."
Sarah Johnson disagrees. She lives within walking distance of the project and said the hotel is needed.
"We may have to pay a little more in parking, but we'll have more amenities," said Johnson. "We're bringing more people to the area."
As for the parking, she said, "I think Midtown is a little spoiled where we are used to free parking. It's growing pains. As this area becomes more popular, the time of free parking may come to an end."
Hotel developers anticipate the hotel will enable a regional performing arts district to form around Playhouse on the Square, Hattiloo Theater, and Ballet Memphis. Construction of the seven-story, 109-room hotel could begin as early as December, wrapping up in early 2020.
A neighborhood meeting still needs to be scheduled between the project developers and the people living in the surrounding areas. A date has not yet been set.