October 4, 2013 11:20:41 AM
William Browning - [email protected]
A Columbus hotel whose construction on Highway 45 has seemingly been on and off for three years will open for business early next year, the hotel's developer says.
Sunny Sethi admitted day-to-day work on the structure has slowed drastically in the past few months. Sethi said there is good reason for that, though. The hotel will be a Hyatt Place, a national chain that uses one vendor to supply furniture to all of its hotels.
Sethi said it is taking longer than expected for the Columbus hotel -- which someone today might think is an abandoned and hollow four-story shell beside Belk -- to receive its furniture.
"If it wasn't for the furniture, we would have probably opened last month," he said.
The furniture is slated to arrive in December.
"We're on track to open in mid-January or early February," Sethi said.
Construction of the development has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. The original construction permit for the hotel was issued in May 2010, according to Kenny Wiegel, building department director for the city of Columbus.
At that time the hotel was to be a Hampton Inn with 83 rooms. But with the economy struggling, Sethi said, work on the building ground to a halt.
Sethi said he then saw an opportunity to put a Hyatt Place at the site because of the economic growth Columbus has seen in the past few years. There is only one other Hyatt Place in Mississippi -- in Ridgeland -- and Sethi described the chain as a "higher-end" brand of hotel.
Sethi secured a new building permit for the hotel and construction began again. Then, earlier this year, came the furniture snag. Sethi said that with them essentially in a waiting game for the furniture, they made the decision to slow construction.
Wiegel said if construction halts at a site for a six-month period, the city can take back its permit. Despite there not being much new visible construction at the hotel, work has slowly been going on and never shut down for six straight months.
"Usually, there is a little bit of work going on," Wiegel said.
When it finally opens, the Columbus Hyatt Place will have 99 rooms and suites and feature a restaurant space, a fitness center, a 2,500-square feet conference room and outdoor pool, according to Sethi.
William Browning was managing editor for The Dispatch until June 2016.