Hartselle seeks hotel study
Positive review could help attract lodging
The City of Hartselle wants to ask a Birmingham-based company to do a feasibility study on the Alabama 36 interchange on I-65 with hopes of trying to recruit more lodging to the city.
Athens developer Bill Ming, who also has a contract with the City of Hartselle to help market the interchange, said he has been talking with a hotel developer that builds hotels for at least three different chains. The developer told Ming he has expressed interest in the area.
Before any hotel builds, however, Ming said that a feasibility study is performed to see if the area could support a hotel and what types of hotels would be the best fit for the area.
The Hartselle City Council is considering a contract up to $6,500 with Cowart Hospitality Services from Birmingham to conduct the study.
“The study will determine if an area will support a hotel,” Ming said. “If the study comes back and it won’t support a hotel, the study ends right there, and the cost is $5,000. If the study determines that a hotel is feasible, they will continue to research it and determine what (hotel chains) would be the best fit for the area. To do that, it will cost an additional $1,500.
“If the study determines that the area would support a hotel and is recommended, that would greatly increase the value of the property,” Ming said. “Developers would be more likely to build in that area.”
Mayor Don Hall said having a feasibility study would assist in Ming’s job of attracting businesses to the interchanges.
“When I approached hotel developers at a show in Las Vegas, they asked me if we had a feasibility study,” Hall said. “I handed them our packets, but they said that wasn’t it. This is what they needed. Bill needs it so he can add it to his toolbox.”
Ming said the firm will look at everything at the availability of hotels in the area to the events that are attracting visitors to the community, including sporting events and other events.
Councilman Tom Chappell said the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, of which he is a board member, would have a lot of that data and would be willing to work with the firm during the study.
“That kind of what we do,” Chappell said. “We’ve done studies to see just how many visitors that we are losing to Athens, Madison and Huntsville when we don’t have enough good hotel rooms in Morgan County. We’d much rather send them 10 miles to the south in Hartselle than to have to send 15 to 20 miles away outside of the county.”
Department of Development Director Jeff Johnson said the study should be ready in about 45 days.