Historic Roswell hotel aims to capture wedding, business travelers | Crain's Atlanta

Historic Roswell hotel aims to capture wedding, business travelers

After years of conversations and planning, historic Roswell will get its first hotel.

Canton Place Development is working on a 120-room boutique hotel and retail space, called Canton Place, on 2.4 acres in downtown Roswell. Canton Place will go before the Roswell Planning Commission on June 20.

“This hotel development is really a good thing for our downtown, especially our historic district,” said Randy Schultz, chairperson of the Roswell Downtown Development Authority. “It’s a fairly large city, but we don’t have that many hotels, and certainly not one of the caliber that’s being proposed.”

Roswell has nearly 95,000 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Kevin Bryant, CEO and partner at Canton Place Development, has been one of them for more than 50 years and formed the company in 2015 to work on this project.

Canton Place will replace an existing Wells Fargo drive-through branch. Bryant said the hotel will be a soft brand, meaning it will be part of a larger hospitality company while keeping an independent look and feel without the brand’s logo.

Bryant, who wants to decide on a brand by July 1, is working with the Roswell Historic Preservation Commission to make sure Canton Place fits Roswell’s aesthetic.

The first phase of construction includes two mixed-use buildings. In the bigger, 28,000-square-foot building, the first floor will have the Wells Fargo, a coffee shop and a chef-driven restaurant. The second floor will hold a 6,000-square-foot event facility. Bryant said the third floor’s purpose hasn’t been set, but it could be meeting space. The purpose of the second building is also undecided.

During the second phase of construction, crews will build a three-story, U-shaped hotel with a courtyard in the center. More than 50 percent of the project is green space, Bryant said.

Canton Place Development will break ground on the first phase by the end of the year, with plans to open in fall 2018. Phase two, the hotel, is planned to open by the end of 2019.

“The hotel’s a much needed destination for the historic district,” said Executive Director Steve Stroud of Roswell Inc., an economic development agency. “Conversations have going on for at least 10 or 12 years about the need for a destination hotel within the historical district.”

Roswell Inc’s April feasibility study on Roswell’s hotel industry showed demand from wedding guests and business travelers. Many of Roswell’s historic homes are used for special events, with more than 30 event facilities in a five-mile radius, Stroud said. 

“We really had no idea when we got into this how many wedding venues there are in Roswell in North Fulton and how many weekends they are booked,” Bryant said.

Canton Place is also located in a convenient spot for Alpharetta and Sandy Springs companies in the Georgia 400 corridor.

“This hotel only works if we fill it during the week, and there are a lot of business travelers that enjoy looking for boutique hotels, unique hotels,” Bryant said.

He also said metro Atlantans looking for a weekend getaway could land in Roswell.

Stroud said having clear hotel accommodations in a walkable area is vital.

“Today’s environment requires that walkability, so whether you’re at Avalon in Alpharetta or you’re at the W [hotel] in Midtown, that walkability and accessibility is an important part,” he said. “With the charm that Roswell brings, this is just an added bonus.”

Right now, the closest hotels to downtown Roswell are two miles away. Having a hotel that lets guests easily walk to restaurants and shops will keep revenue downtown.

“The restaurants are tickled pink,” Stroud said.

Finding parking in downtown Roswell can be an issue, so Canton Place will have underground public parking. Schultz said they still need to take soil samples to see how far down such parking can extend.

He also said he doesn’t expect the hotel to increase congestion significantly, since guests can park at the hotel lot, then walk downtown instead of driving.

Bryant and Stroud used the phrase controlled development when talking about Roswell’s future.

“Roswell has a really good group of concerned citizens and leaders that are focused on the checks and balances of development. We’re excited that there are people that voice their opinion,” Bryant said. “Growth is a part of who we are. Anywhere we live, there’s going to be growth. I’m glad that we have some leadership that’s concerned over controlled growth and the type of growth, especially in the historical district.”

Stroud said Roswell’s future will focus on redeveloping areas and repurposing buildings because the city is out of open green space. That is evident in Canton Place tearing down an existing Wells Fargo building.

“We’re going to see repurposing of traditional 1980s shopping centers into more functional, livable communities and still keeping that charm and that walkability, and I think that’s the key that Roswell has to acknowledge. We have to acknowledge that we are a place that people come home to sleep,” Stroud said. “What we’re trying to create is that work atmosphere that they can live here and work here.”

June 6, 2017 - 4:02pm