A new hotel on East State Street in Athens, which upon opening would become the closest one to uptown, is being planned.
A proposal for the building at 88 E. State St. – located at the intersection of Carpenter Street/Stimson Avenue and East State Street, and the former main office building of Prokos Rentals – was approved by the Athens CIty Planning Commission last Thursday and will be moving forward.
The Planning Commission OKed the hotel proposal in December but since then the owner (Demetrios Prokos) has added a third floor to the site plans.
The estimated cost for the whole project would be $2 million, according to Director of Code Enforcement Rick Sirois. Site plans include one three-story building with office space on the first floor and hotel rooms on the second and third. The hotel portion would include 24 guest rooms, including a couple of suites, and a food court on each floor, according to a copy of the plans provided by Sirois earlier this month.
The existing building at the site sustained significant damage after catching fire last April, and the plan, at first, was to demolish the building and build a new two-story office building at the same location, the Athens Messenger reported last fall. Under the new design, Prokos Rentals’ main offices will continue to be housed in the building on the first floor, along with some commercial office space, Sirois said Thursday. A “green” roof system is outlined in the site plans, as well.
According to the City Engineer Andy Stone’s comments, read by Sirois at the meeting, the city would have to construct a realigned sewer system beneath the new building, as the former sewer system was destroyed when the building was damaged previously. Other than that, and with a few other minor notes, the Planning Commission approved the site plans for further planning and construction.
Michael Noel, the Athens-based architect for the project, appeared at the meeting Thursday to answer questions about the project. Athens Mayor Steve Patterson asked about signs, pointing out that the building is so close to the curb, “there’s nowhere to put” a free-standing sign.
“There’s been a lot of discussion on signage,” Noel said. “Basically the entrance to the hotel and his rental operations is at the same location. So, I think he’s looking at how to name the building so that someone coming into town would realize, ‘oh that’s where I’m staying,’” yet still reflect the location of Prokos Rentals.
The owner of the property, Prokos, could not be reached for comment before this story went to print.