by CYNTHIA KMETT
The Troy Planning Commission didn’t like the proposed design of a new Holiday Inn and Suites in Troy. Planner John Tagle, himself an architect, wanted a more upscale look, especially at the back of the hotel.
The design proposal included air and heating units below each window, uniform in size and placement. The hotel is also supposed to share a parking lot with the corporate office building at 900 Tower Dr., off of Crooks.
Architect Toufik Bentahar addressed the proposed hotel architecture as it relates to the standard corporate design, materials, and colors. Sample building materials were circulated to planning members. He indicated they could make changes with the Holiday Inn’s permission.
The planning committee had many questions about the proposed hotel design: Would it run with the lease? Was there enough room? Would they invade the space of the nearby Embassy Suites if they have a full house in their banquet room?
Tony Antone of Kojaian Companies, which owns 900 Tower Drive building, assured the planners that he would be glad to allow shared parking in perpetuity with no fees. According to Antone, the building is only 60 percent occupied, and even if it got new tenants, there would still be ample parking for hotel guests at night when all the workers went home.
This was at the second meeting attended this month by Bentahar and the President and CEO of Amerilodge Group, Asad Malik, who is developing the property. The building needs special use permission because it’s a hotel, as well as site plan approval for the four-story building.
Last week, Amerilodge returned and all seemed settled. The window units were all aligned to look more uniform. Changes to the elevations including replacing Exterior
Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) material – which the planners hate and the Holiday Inn uses a lot – with masonry material and adding more architectural detail along east elevation. The applicant provided two rear options for the Planning Commission to consider. They let the planners choose what rear roofline they liked. The commission liked the added curves on top of the building. And, yes, they added trees in the parking lot as Troy requires.
Best news of all for the Planning Commission was that the developer had originally been looking to add two hotels on this site, and now only the Holiday Inn remained.
According to the city’s planning consultant Benjamin Carlisle of Carlisle/Wortman, the hotel would meet special use guidelines.
“The development of a hotel in the location of an underutilized parking lot is compatible with the office use dominated area,” he said. “The Master Plan identifies the need in north Troy for accessory retail and commercial properties to complement the office use dominated area. The development of a hotel with banquet space and a restaurant in the location of an underutilized parking lot is consistent with providing complementary uses as identified in the Master Plan.”
The Planning Commission voted 8-0 to approve the project and send it on to city council for its approval.
In other news, last Monday, Mayor Dane Slater nominated Dave Lambert to the Planning Commission, which will bring it back to full strength. Lambert has been serving on the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals and already knows a good deal about the rules of building in Troy.