Hotel owner makes pitch to Uptown Facade Board
In addition to a new 106-room downtown Columbus hotel that became public last week, developers are planning loft apartments, office and restaurant space in the current Raymond Rowe furniture location.
Those details surfaced Monday afternoon when the owners of RAM Hotels presented their plans that have been in the works for months to the Uptown Facade Board.
RAM Hotels President Rinkesh Patel told the panel, which has approval authority over building exteriors in downtown Columbus, that the plan is to mix demolition and new construction for what they say will be a “lifestyle complex.”
No action was taken by the board on Monday, and Patel made it clear that he was in front of the city board looking for direction before the project moves forward.
“We didn’t come here expecting final approval,” Patel said.
Justin Krieg, an ex-officio board member, termed the presentation a conceptual project review.
RAM Hotels is in the process of acquiring the property from the Rowe family, which operates a furniture store in the mid-block buildings. That deal is expected to close by the end of the year, Patel said. The Rowes have declined comment.
The current plans are:
▪ Tear down the 1235 Broadway building that currently houses the furniture store and replace it with a 106-room hotel. The new construction will shift slightly to the south into a parking lot adjacent to the furniture store. That building was constructed in 1948.
▪ Renovate the building north of 1235 that currently houses the Golf Gallery. There will be a restaurant on the first floor and eight to 10 loft apartments on the second and third floors.
▪ Put an alley between the hotel and loft buildings, which are now connected.
▪ Renovate the warehouse closer to Front Avenue into office space. They plan to move RAM Hotels corporate headquarters into that building.
One of the issues that Patel wanted addressed was the height of the new construction. The preliminary designs that Patel presented showed a four-story hotel. Board Chairman Doug Jefcoat said he saw no issues with a potential five-story structure.
“That is the kind of direction we were looking for,” Patel said.
Last week when Patel outlined the project for the Ledger-Enquirer he said there was not a time frame for work to start or be completed. On Monday, he provided a rough time line.
▪ Have a plan that can gain Uptown Facade Board approval by the end of the year.
▪ Have the due diligence done in nine months.
▪ Begin construction next summer.
▪ Open the hotel by the end of 2018.
Patel, and his brother, RAM Executive Vice President Mitesh Patel, walked away from the meeting pleased with the results. They showed the initial designs they were proposing and some AC Hotel designs from other cities.
“I thought they would lean toward a more traditional look, but it seems like they are more progressive minded,” Rinkesh Patel said.
There are about 70 AC Hotels worldwide and another 100 under construction in the United States, including one at Phipps Plaza in Buckhead, and others in Asheville, N.C., and Savannah. AC Hotels are an high-end Marriott brand. The rooms in Columbus will likely rent for between $175 and $200 per night, significantly more than other Columbus area hotels.
It is the second hotel planned for the 1200 block. The Pezold companies are planning a Hampton Inn at the corner of 12th and Broadway.