A seven-story, 130-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel is planned for downtown Gainesville as the centerpiece of a $50 million redevelopment project to also include convention space, apartments, outdoor plaza and dining areas.
The four-building development, which will be known as The National, was billed in a press release Tuesday, Dec. 1, as “Avalon-like,” referring to the highly touted “live-work-play” community in Alpharetta.
Groundbreaking is tentatively planned by mid-year 2021 with completion by December 2022.
“From the emerging Renaissance project on the downtown square to major ongoing development in midtown, the city of Gainesville is on a roll, and The National will be one more prized jewel in the crown that puts us on the map of the state’s most desirable places to live and work,” said Jonathan Collins, president of Capstone Property Group.
The development will encircle the old Regions Banks — originally 1st National Bank of Gainesville — and occupy one city block and part of a second block.
Capstone Property Group LLC, purchased the iconic bank from local investment group 111 Green Street LLC in August 2019 with initial plans to convert it into a 50-room hotel.
The Courtyard hotel, employing about 50, will sit next door to the former bank building at 111 Green St., providing “much-needed support for recruitment of business and medical professionals,” the press release says, quoting Collins.
The bank will be restored to accommodate “contemporary meeting space and single bedroom suites,” according to the press release.
The bank’s former lobby on the ground floor will be converted into “adaptable meeting space that can be separated into two rooms or used as one larger area capable of seating up to nearly 200 for a meeting or banquet under a grand 20-foot ceiling.”
Above the convention area will be four floors of one-bedroom rental suites, which “will be designed for graduate students and young professionals desiring a downtown lifestyle.”
“The bank building will be restored to preservation standards that maintain its familiar architectural integrity,” Collins said.
The third building on the one-block site will feature five stories of 50 luxury apartments atop a two-story parking deck. The “Residences at the National” will include 10 living units per floor with five one-bedroom and 45 two-bedroom apartments.
The three buildings will surround a pedestrian plaza of green space, seating with fireside tables, a water feature, public art and “plenty of space for outdoor events,” the press release states.
The National’s fourth element will take place across the street — at the corner of Washington and Green streets — with renovation of the Walton Jackson Building that has been vacant since the Midland Station coffee house closed last year.
The 30,000-square-foot building will be renovated “to provide a gathering place for business professionals with high-tech conference rooms and a private dining club,” according to the press release.
As part of the project, Capstone plans to seek tax allocation district financing, the release states.
In a tax allocation district, increments in property taxes resulting from new growth are reinvested in properties.
The financing is “critical for its economic viability,” Collins said.
An application for listing on the National Register of Historic Places also has been filed.
The developers also are working through final architectural plans and selecting a general contractor for construction, the press release says.
“We are excited about our plans and pleased with the positive feedback from city planners and residents,” Collins said. “Our development team has the best interests of our community at heart — and that’s how the vision for The National was inspired in the first place.”
Planning has been under way for several months between Capstone and Gainesville “in a collaborative community partnership focused on creating a signature lifestyle center similar to Alpharetta’s famed Avalon development,” the release states.
Asked Tuesday about the project, City Manager Bryan Lackey said, “While the representatives of Capstone have made us aware of their intentions to develop the property with a hotel, they have not submitted any plans to us.”
He added: “Obviously, we are anxious to hear more about this and eager to work with them on the redevelopment of this very visible and key site in Gainesville.”
Local architect Steve Hill of H. Lloyd Hill Architects will oversee the design of the Residences and the bank building renovation. Hill’s father was the architect for the original 1st National Bank building.
Hotel construction, which could involve requiring up to 500 workers, is being overseen by local developer McKibbon Places and will eventually be managed by locally based McKibbon Hotels, according to the release.
Architect Reese Vanderbilt & Associates is designing the hotel.