MARIETTA — Actors, musicians and other performers at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre could one day have a hotel option just paces away from the venue.
Tuesday’s Cobb Zoning meeting saw county commissioners greenlight a site plan amendment for the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority that would allow for a 250-room, dual-branded hotel to be built on land next to CEPAC currently being used as a parking lot. Commissioners also closed the curtain on a long-running property matter in west Cobb by approving plans a 131-unit senior living facility at the corner of Dallas Highway and Garrison Commons.
The former decision will allow the authority to move forward on its contract with Atlanta-based Noble Investment Group that would see Noble purchase the land for the hotel for $6.15 million, subject to adjustment as its plans develop.
Though approved as part of the commission’s consent agenda, Chairman Mike Boyce voiced his abstention on the matter, citing his membership to the authority, on which he serves by virtue of being commission chairman.
The purchase, sale and development agreement between the authority and Noble specifies that the hotel will include meeting space, a restaurant serving breakfast and dinner and a rooftop bar, adding that Noble “initially intends” to franchise under the Hilton Garden Inn and Home2Suites brands. Noble would be required to build the hotel with the amenities and features characteristic of those hotel brands, but if it decided to open a non-branded or independent hotel, the authority would have the final say on if the project moves forward.
The agreement also specifies that the authority will develop between CEPAC and the hotel a structured parking facility, existing and/or additional surface parking, access roadways and other infrastructure improvements.
Michele Swann, the authority’s general manager and CEO, previously said design of the hotel could probably take nine to 12 months, with construction probably going another year or year and a half. The planned parking deck, she added, could be designed and erected within a year.
Senior facility gets unanimous approval
Over in west Cobb, Atlanta-based Centric Development will be allowed to rezone more than 23.9 acres at 2720, 2780 and 2782 Dallas Highway to allow for a senior living facility following commissioners’ 5-0 vote.
Within the primarily wooded acreage was the former home of 50-plus years of Herbert Collins, who had been 88 years old in 2016 when he sought to sell the property to developer Columbia Properties.
Commissioner Keli Gambrill, who oversees the area, says the land had been a “contentious piece of property” for the last 15 years.
“We had a shopping center, and then we were going to have a Barnes & Noble, we were going to have a water park there,” Gambrill said, “and two years ago, Columbia Properties was trying to put another shopping center there.”
Columbia had proposed in 2016 a project with 56 senior living townhomes and about 100,000 square feet of real estate with an organic grocer as an anchor tenant, but those plans were denied by Cobb commissioners after neighbors contended that a retail development would be “undesirable” and would have a detrimental effect on nearby residents.
Collins died in May at the age of 89, but now his heirs will be able to sell the property to make way for Centric’s plans that will see the senior living facility built on about 10 acres, with the remaining 14 acres left as buffer and conservation green space.
“Essentially what this does is it allows a portion of the property to be developed, but a majority of it to be preserved as green space, and that was one of the concerns about development, because of the hill, because of the rock, how much was going to have to be removed in order to develop the site in its totality,” Gambrill said.
Attorney Parks Huff, who represented Centric in the zoning matter, acknowledged residents of two neighboring subdivisions who attended Tuesday’s meeting to show their support for the project.
“I want to thank the Heritage Oaks folks and the Garrison Ridge folks who are here in the audience in support of this … and it was a pleasure working with them on this case,” he said.
Gambrill says neighbors she heard from seemed to be more in favor of the project than what had previously been proposed on the site.
“I have had only a few that have been opposed to it, but overall, this is a very good fit for our community,” she said. “The plan that Mr. Huff and Centric brought forth today is only going to disturb land on a small portion and preserve the character of the hill.”