July 12, 2016

Hilton Garden Inn Will Go Up Soon

By Jerome Obermark
– The Commercial Appeal –

A Hilton Garden Inn is planned for a vacant site at 1221 S. Shady Grove Road, north of Poplar in East Memphis.

It is estimated to cost about $6.5 million, said Steve Messick, project coordinator for Moore & Associates, a Nashville-area general contractor/hotel development firm, which owns the land.

Plans call for a six-story hotel with 134 7rooms including six suites, he said.

A small restaurant and lounge, an indoor swimming pool and an exercise facility are included, Messick said. The property will have two meeting rooms separated by a movable partition. When combined, they will seat about 50, he said. Ground-level parking for 140 cars is planned. Negotiations between he owners of the East Memphis site and Hilton are continuing, and Messick hopes to start work the second week of May.

“We hope to get it open by December. It takes us about eight months,” Messick said.

The 2.5 acre site is across the street from the upscale 220-suite Embassy Suites at 1022 Shady Grove Road and the moderately priced 133-room Hampton Inn and Suites at 962 S. Shady Grove.

Both the Embassy Suites and Hampton Inn & Suites properties have good occupancy levels and good average daily rates, said Rick Colling, city director of sales for Hilton. A Hilton Garden Inn fits between the upper-end Embassy Suites with rack rates from $189-$209 per night and Hampton Inn & Suites with rates from about $95-$105 per night, Colling said. A rack rate for a Hilton Garden Inn likely would be about $119-$129, he said.

Rack rates are the rate per night quoted before affinity group or other discounts are applied. Most corporate, group and savvy travelers can get better nightly rates by requesting a discount.

Chuck Pinkowski, owner of Pinkowski & Co., and industry consultant, said a Hilton Garden Inn managed by Hilton would bring more business to the East Memphis market over the long term, although it would dilute business in an already competitive hotel market.

If a firm other than Hilton manages it, it likely would target customers looking at the neighboring Embassy Suites and Hampton Inn & Suites, Pinkowski said.

Hilton Garden Inns are “upscale, mid-priced hotels,” said Jeanne Datz, director of brand communications for Hilton Hotels Corp.

She could not confirm particulars about the East Memphis property because Hilton Hotels has not completed due diligence of the site owners’ application for a franchise, she said.

There are no Hilton Garden Inns in Memphis now. The concept combines aspects of full and limited service hotels. “They (Hilton Garden Inns) are a little bit of everything,” Datz said. “They are like a full service hotel, except they don’t have 24-hour room service.” They appeal to value-conscious business and leisure travelers. All of them serve a hot breakfast.

“It depends on the market whether the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner,” Datz said. “If there are other restaurants within a few blocks they may not be open for lunch and dinner.”

Designed to fit virtually any physical footprint of land, Hilton Garden Inns have great design flexibility and are one of Hilton’s fastest growing brands, she said. The brand was introduced in 1996 and now, there are 135 Hilton Garden Inns. Another 40 are expected to open this year, she said.

They range from 90-250 guest rooms, although most have 125-175 rooms, Datz said.

Rooms have a desk with shelf for portable computers, electrical outlets and phone jacks, two telephones with two lines, data ports and voice mail, ergonomic chair and a hospitality center with coffee maker, microwave and small refrigerator.