An extended-stay hotel proposal may have new life in Oakwood.
Duluth-based Detroit Lender LLC is back before the city asking for a rezoning of property off Mundy Mill Road for a 5-story, 87-room Candlewood Suites, picking up momentum with an initial OK Monday, Sept. 21, from the Oakwood Planning Commission.
Oakwood City Council voted in February to deny rezoning for the hotel at 3783 Mundy Mill Drive, behind Best Western Plus Lake Lanier Gainesville Hotel & Suites and near Mundy Mill Road and Interstate 985.
At the time, officials said the project didn’t fit the comprehensive land-use plan’s “character area,” or vision for how an area could develop. The city’s 2017 land-use plan gives a look at how different areas of the city might look in 20 years.
But then, on Aug. 10, Oakwood City Council agreed to Detroit Lender LLC’s request to change the area including the proposed hotel site on the land-use plan from residential to commercial, opening the door for the company to pursue the hotel.
The planning board recommended approval of the project in two votes – rezoning the 1.48-acre site to highway business and allowing the extended-stay hotel as a special use for the property.
A measure passed by the city in June allows extended-stay hotels, but with restrictions, including that lodging in a room would be allowed for up to 15 consecutive days and a total of 30 days during a 180-day period. Those restrictions have some exceptions, including insurance proof showing a person or persons have been displaced from their home because of disaster, such as fire.
And a hotel is considered extended stay if more than 5% of its rooms have fixed cooking appliances and a kitchen, according to the city’s rules.
The hotel issues now go before the Oakwood City Council in October for final consideration.
A Detroit Lender official couldn’t be reached for comment on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
Raj Patel, speaking for the applicant at a planning board in July, described the hotel as more upscale than other extended-stay hotels.
“You would not see a school bus pull up in front of this hotel picking up kids,” he said.
The Candlewood website describes the chain as a “more casual kind of longer stay, where you'll always feel at home.”