Local hotel construction starts


Published: Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 10:30 p.m.

Construction of a hotel in downtown Gainesville will begin today, with site preparation that will eliminate some parking but not result in any street closures.

Charles Reyner of South Carolina-based Windsor/Aughtry Co. said construction on the six-story, $16 million, 122-room Hampton Inn Hotel and Suites should take about 14 months.

It will be built on a parking lot on SE 1st Street between 1st and 2nd avenues.

"We were waiting to finish up with elections, so now we are ready to go," Reyner said. "We're very excited to get going. We're looking forward to adding a new hotel to downtown Gainesville."

Some of the right of way on 1st Avenue will be used during construction. Some street parking along 1st Street and on 2nd Avenue will be eliminated. However, traffic will remain in both directions along the affected streets.

City crews were posting "no parking" signs on meters Wednesday afternoon in preparation for today's closures.

Several Alachua County offices are in the Star Garage, which is just to the east of the hotel site. Among them is the Elections Office, and Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter has expressed concerns about construction occurring during the election season, particularly the fall campaigns.

Carpenter said Wednesday that construction will impact her office, adding that employees will have to deal with the noise. But Carpenter said she does not want access to her office impeded, particularly later this year as election-related activity picks up.

"Hopefully they will be far enough along that it will not affect the presidential elections this fall," Carpenter said. "Fencing will be out there to hold the materials, so there is an impact of people just accessing the office. And for those people who don't know where the office is, to be able to visibly find it is a concern."

Construction of the hotel is expected to cost about $16 million.

Cindy Swirko can be reached at 352-374-5024 or swirkoc@ gvillesun.com.

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