MACON, Ga. - Mercer University President and CEO R. Kirby Godsey announced today that the university has signed a letter of intent to construct a 101-room Hilton Garden Inn on the campus off Mercer University Drive, near I-75. The construction is the first step in the university’s redevelopment efforts to have Mercer University Drive become the main entrance to the campus.
“We are delighted with the prospect of adding this significant amenity to the campus,” said Godsey. “The hotel’s location, just off of I-75, will make it available to business and leisure travelers as well as provide housing for alumni and visitors attending special programs and athletic events and for parents of current and prospective students.”
After interviewing a number of prospective developers, Mercer selected PHD Hotels, formerly known as The Hotel Group, of Auburn, Ala., for the $10 million project. Construction will begin this spring, with the Inn expected to open in spring 2007. The upscale hotel will offer a restaurant and a small conference area. After construction, PHD Hotels will operate and manage the inn, with the university being an equity partner.
“We are thrilled to be involved with the University in building this hotel on campus, and we look forward to being part of the redevelopment plans for the campus,” said Tom Hunt, president and CEO of PHD Hotels. “Being on campus is going to be a real benefit for the hotel as well as the university.”
The Mercer project is the fourth Hilton Garden Inn and the ninth hotel that PHD Hotels has constructed and operated. The company’s other Hilton Garden Inns are in Auburn, Montgomery and Huntsville, Ala. There are 270 Hilton Garden Inns across the nation.