Hilton may follow Embassy Suites to downtown Tuscaloosa - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Hilton may follow Embassy Suites to downtown Tuscaloosa

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TUSCALOOSA - AL -

   Less than a block where construction on the five-star Embassy Suites is just beginning, Hilton talking about building one its signature hotels in downtown Tuscaloosa.

   The discussion began Monday night when attorneys for the hotel chain requested a variance for a parcel of land in the 2600 Block of University Boulevard, where the Hilton would go.

  "It will be a 107 rooms.  Its a 12.5 million dollar capital investment," said Brian Winter, a local attorney hired by Hilton.

   So far, the slated property has crossed a major hurdle in rezoning all but one parcel necessary for the project to start its engine.

  The company is in the planning a design and although it would just stones throw from the Hilton it is not expected to be a direct competitor because the Hilton would be a lower option.  "It will attract a different clientele for the people visiting Tuscaloosa," added Winter.

   However some people question whether downtown Tuscaloosa can sustain two major Hotels downtown.  Councilman Bobbie Howard says they [the two hotels] "will attract visitors who stay in Birmingham but attend Tuscaloosa events.  Then we [Tuscaloosa] can hold our own conventions."

   No time frame was given to when construction would be a go.  Winter says the developer is in a contract to buy occupied homes that are in disrepair and sitting on the property.

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