More hotel rooms (and more jobs) on the way to Memphis market

After years of little to no new hotel construction activity, the development pipeline for new hotel projects in and around Memphis is filling back up. More than 15 projects and an estimated 3,000 new rooms are in the works for downtown (read more about it here next week), and several other hotels are on the way soon in other parts of the city and surrounding areas.
“The hotel companies are pushing harder for development, and they’re adding more brands from which to choose for a developer,” said local hotel guru Chuck Pinkowski. “If you’re in the hotel business and want to develop a new product, you don’t have to look only at Courtyard or Hampton, you can look at Marriot’s Moxy or other new brands that have come out in the last year.”
In Germantown, a new Hampton Inn and Suites at Germantown Road and Neshoba will open early next year, and a new dual-brand hotel project will get underway soon just over the Memphis line at a ten-acre site at Poplar and Kirby Road where the $90 million TraVure development is planned.
One portion of that site will feature a hotel from two different brands – Hilton Garden Inn and Home2 (also a Hilton product) - under one roof, while the other side of the parcel will include a five-story office building and a parking lot, along with a retail component with commercial services and a restaurant.
Then in late October in Whitehaven, 450 rooms will become available at The Guest House at Graceland, a new $92 million, six-story upscale hotel at the popular tourist destination. Room prices are expected to range from $149 for basic rooms to $1,300 for luxury suites.
“That will be the largest hotel developed in Memphis in 90 years!” said Pinkowski.  “And it speaks to the challenge Memphis has being a city of smaller hotels.”
The Memphis market currently boasts 240 hotels and roughly 22,000 hotel rooms - but only 30 or so hotels have more than 100 rooms, making booking hotels for large tourist groups a logistical challenge.
“When we got into the Recession in ’10, ’11 and ’12, some of the development pipeline opened up, but much of it was put on hold,” said Pinkowski. “Activity is now gradually starting to come back.”
This week Pinkowski leads the 14th annual Southern Lodging Summit on August 16 and 17 at the Cook Convention Center. The event draws more than 200 attendees each year, including owners, operators, financial investors, attorneys, architects, and numerous hotel company representatives.

Read more articles by Michael Waddell.

Michael Waddell is a native Memphian who returned to Memphis several years ago after working for nearly a decade in San Diego and St. Petersburg, Fla., as a writer, editor and graphic designer. His work over the past few years has been featured in The Memphis Daily News, Memphis Bioworks Magazine, Memphis Crossroads, the New York Daily News and the New York Post. Contact Michael.
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