By Terri Ferguson Smith / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
Two new hotels and two restaurants are on the drawing board for Meridian.
Developer John Tampa of Ascent Hospitality Management Co. told the Meridian City Council on Tuesday that he wants to build a Marriot Fairfield Inn and Suites; a Marriott TownePlace Suites, an office building and two restaurants on a 16-acre site off of 1-20 near Cracker Barrel in Meridian.
After the meeting, Tampa said nothing is official yet, but he is ready to proceed as soon as possible.
"It will be up to the City Council," Tampa said. "We want to be here. On my side I'm ready 100 percent."
Tampa's company is based in Buford, Ga. and owns and manages more than 20 hotels. In a proposal he gave to council members, Tampa asks for several things.
"We have some access issues and we need some infrastructure," Tampa said.
His proposal asks for:
• Construction building permit waived,
• Construction of new access road to the property with city maintaining service after the construction is completed. The developer will pay the engineer to help design the road.
• Provide light poles for lighting the road.
• Provide water and sewer to the site.
• Provide monument sign for the entire development.
In a letter to the mayor and city council, Tampa said the company has purchased the land and has a commitment for financing.
"We are ready to break ground on the two hotels in the next 30 days," Tampa wrote. "The second phase of the development, the restaurants and office building, we expect to break ground the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015."
Tampa said, based on the development, the city, county and state will benefit in several ways, including the following:
• The project will create more than 90 temporary jobs during the construction of all projects for approximately 24 months.
• It will create 43 permanent jobs by the end of 2014.
• It will create 36 more jobs between 2014 and 2016.
• It will bring approximately $167,000 in property taxes annually.
• It will generate sales tax of approximately $630,000 annually.
Ward One Councilman George Thomas, president of the council, asked Tampa to set a time that he could meet with the council in a work session so they would have more time to discuss the specifics.