Bruce Collins, regional director of development for the East for OTO Development, said his group worked closely with Northside residents to address design concerns.
“It’s not your cookie cutter type of project,” Collins said.
“We wanted to build as much on the site but still be conscious of the neighborhood. From a height standpoint, it’s a hard nut to crack.”
The proposed four-story hotel would be LEED certified and would include more than 115 rooms, a swimming pool with outdoor eating area, more than 110 underground parking spaces, a library, small media salons and a small meeting place.
Council member Maria Palmer said having a meeting space would be a great asset to the community and also suggested featuring local artists in the hotel common areas.
Coleman said the AC Hotel brand is a perfect fit for Palmer’s idea.
“In conversations with the Northside neighborhood, we’ve looked at possibly doing a timeline for that idea down that corridor capturing the history of Northside,” he said.
Coleman said the site, which was identified during the Downtown Imagined planning process, puts visitors in the heart of downtown.
“They can park their car on site, exit the building and walk to downtown establishments, campus and restaurants,” Coleman said.
“They are seeing a big idea and improving the walkability and bringing life to that street. With our project we hope will be one of the catalysts to push that idea forward.”
Council member George Cianciolo said the developers should also think about noise from deliveries and trash pickup.
“In addition to the visual buffer, you need to be cognizant of the noise buffer,” Cianciolo said. “The noise might go over more than just the lot next door.”
Though the plan is still being modified, Collins said his group is willing to go all the way and provide residents with as much protection and barriers as possible.
“We are going to landscape our side,” he said. “We will landscape their side. We have committed to do whatever they want to do on their side of the line.”