News 12 at 11 / Tuesday, April 1, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A new Augusta hotel is open for business and city leaders say it will do a lot more than give visitors a place to rest.
The Holiday Inn Express is a part of downtown many say was an eye sore, but many are hoping the hotel will spark a change.
After a $7 million face-lift, a building many avoided will now host hundreds of visitors a week. With the Masters right around the corner, the timing couldn't be better
"Heaven. I mean compared to what it was, this is Heaven," Augusta's Mayor Pro-Tem, Corey Johnson said describing the new downtown Holiday Inn Express after the $7 million investment.
"It was such an eye sore for years and years and just to see the transformation is awesome," Johnson told News 12.
Developers broke ground on the Broad Street property more than a year ago, but on Tuesday officials were cutting ribbons in a large crowd. The grand opening won't just be bringing in money for owners, it's also bringing jobs.
The hotel will employ 35 people and still needs to hire 15 more people, hotel manager Stan Creswell said. If you're interested, don't apply just yet.
Creswell will be running the new 117-room hotel.
"After Masters [week] they can come put in an application here at the front desk. Pick one up here and turn it in back right here," he said.
And with the Masters Tournament ahead, Johnson said there's no better time to open for business.
"Days before Masters people are going to start coming in as early as Friday. Some may already be here," he said.
"About 60 rooms are still open for the tournament days and about 80 during the practice round," Creswell said.
However, Masters week in Augusta is expensive. It will cost you $500 to get a basic room or $700 for a suite and that's no April fools joke.
Commissioners also credit TAD, the tax allocation district, with bringing the new hotel. The measure the commission passed gave incentives and is meant to attract investors to revitalize that area of downtown Augusta.