Franklin Gateway Hotel Rising from the Ashes

Marietta Daily Journal

Ross Williams, December 6, 2018

Nearly 13 years after it was destroyed in a fire, the former Holiday Inn off Marietta’s Franklin Gateway is close to coming back to life.

The seven-story, 193-room hotel caught fire in January of 2006, killing one person and injuring 20. The blaze reduced the building to little more than a metal frame.

The property has changed hands several times since then, but previous plans to fix up the building never got off the ground.

On Wednesday morning, construction workers were building scaffolding along the side of the building facing Interstate 75 so they could put waterproofing on the exterior.

The other side of the exterior is 80 to 90 percent complete, said owner Krishan Patel, and crews are simultaneously working on the interior. Patel said they are aiming for completion in the first quarter of 2019.

Paul Robinson, owner of a fine art wholesaler just across the street from the building, said he has been waiting for that day ever since the fire. For years, he has lamented the view from outside his business, but now he watches the workers with a smile.

“We’re very pleased to see it,” he said. “It’s full bore now. It looks like they’re serious about it.”

Robinson is not the only one who is pleased. The old building is visible from Interstate 75 and one of the first sights people have seen when entering Marietta.

Marietta Economic Development Manager Daniel Cummings said the under construction hotel is already a much better welcome sign for the city.

“As folks are getting off the interstate at Delk (Road) or driving by, not seeing the remains of the shell of the building, but having something of good quality there, it serves as the entrance to the south side of Franklin Gateway,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a very positive impact for the corridor.”

The hotel is set to have 148 rooms and will be branded under the Home2 Suites banner, an extended-stay hotel from Hilton.

Patel said the Home2 Suites brand is a cut above the traditional extended stay. With rates of $100 to $150 per night, the hotel aims for a target market of business travelers.

“It’s going to attract that kind of clientele which might currently be going to other markets like Kennesaw, Cumberland Mall, places like that,” Patel said.

Patel said the hotel will feature amenities including indoor and outdoor pools, a large fitness room, a large meeting space with a seating capacity of over 100 people, a board room that seats about 12 to 15 people and the latest in high-speed internet and other technology.

Mayor Steve Tumlin said the hotel has caught some undeserved flack with the public for the extended stay name.

“The word ‘extended stay’ means one thing, but extended stay with the Hilton brand means another,” Tumlin said. “People don’t use the kitchen to raise a family, they use the kitchens while they’re in town on business or to see the Braves play. Extended stay is an unfair moniker. I prefer to call it business travel, which you see everywhere you go now.”

Patel said work on the exterior of the building is on track to be completed in the coming weeks, and the interior is set to follow early next year. Once more progress is made, he said he will make an announcement about a grand opening date.

Caroline Whaley