The Marietta City Council will consider Wednesday a plan which would turn a high-rise hotel into a multi-use site marketed to senior veterans.
Veterans Services USA has proposed to turn four floors of the 10-story Radisson building at South Marietta Parkway and I-75 into 83 apartments, while also adding healthcare and support services for its tenants. The remainder of the building and its 125 rooms will remain operational as a hotel.
“Typically, the properties we buy are already in distress,” Dan McNulty, of Veterans Services USA, told the Marietta council last week. McNulty explained that scaling back the size of the hotel will allow it to hit higher occupancy rates and thus become more financially viable.
Rusty Roth, the city’s development services director, said the developer has not indicated what brand the hotel would operate under if the project goes forward.
Documents submitted by the developer indicate the apartments would be age-restricted to residents 55 and older and marketed to veterans. Twenty percent of the units would be at half the market rate, 55% would be at 80% of the market rate, and 25% would be at market rate, per an email from the developer’s attorney, Richard Calhoun.
McNulty said that would likely shake out to monthly rates from the mid-$800 range on up.
Among the other features would be an “adult daycare” center. As with a daycare for children, families with a live-in older relative could drop off their relative at the senior center while they go off to work. The property manager would provide a shuttle service for the facility as well.
To move ahead with the project, the developer needs the city to agree to allow residential use (the property is currently zoned for office high-rise), and to grant a variance as the property lacks the required number of parking spaces. The developer also needs approval to build apartments with a size of less than 500 square feet.
The proposal sparked confusion at a work session of the City Council last week. Mayor Steve Tumlin said he was concerned homeless veterans could arrive at the site expecting services, only to be turned away.
“It would hurt more people than it would help, is my concern … if you slam the door in a man’s face when he has the expectation of help, I find that worrisome,” Tumlin said.
Veterans Services USA appears to be a recently-formed company, announcing just days ago its purchase of at least nine properties nationwide including the Marietta hotel. Working with Lockwood Development Partners, the sale totaled roughly $225 million.
The city’s Planning Commission recommended approval of the project on July 6, and it will go before the City Council Wednesday for a final vote. The firm appears to like its chances of the city approving the rezoning, as its website lists a project completion date of October 2022.