Local News

Marriott will nearly double downtown Raleigh hotel rooms

Posted July 30, 2008 5:02 p.m. EDT
Updated August 1, 2008 1:01 p.m. EDT

— The opening of the Marriott hotel near the soon-to-be-completed Raleigh Convention Center will almost double the numbers of rooms available downtown, city officials say.

The hotel, at 434 Fayetteville St., is holding a "soft" opening Thursday, with the official grand opening planned for Aug. 27.

“We’re really thrilled to be part of this project in downtown Raleigh,” said Robert J. Morse, chief operating officer for Noble Investment Group, which operates the Marriott.

The Marriott is connected underground to the convention center, which is set to open Sept. 5. The two share a parking garage, Morse said.

The hotel will add 400 rooms in downtown. There are 610 hotel rooms now.

The $228 million convention center project will feature more than 500,000 square feet of space, 19 meeting rooms, an exhibit hall and a ballroom.

The convention center has more than 140 conventions already booked. If the center is as successful as some city leaders hope, the current number of hotel rooms won’t be enough. Every convention is expected to bring about 900 people to downtown for an average visit of four days.

“Right now, we're safe. I would say in the next three to five years, we won't be safe, and it could jeopardize the growth of the convention center,” Downtown Raleigh Alliance Director David Diaz said.

Diaz said that adding more hotel rooms within walking distance of the convention center will be crucial.

"I think the private sector is going to step up to the plate,” Diaz said.

Private projects have already been delayed due to the tight credit market, however.

The Lafayette tower, a 22-story building that would mix a hotel with offices and high-rise condominiums, has been delayed. The building would add about 200 rooms. The City Council voted earlier this month to give the developer four months to get his financing in place.

The 23-story Hillsborough Project also met funding problems. It is to rise at the corner of Dawson and Hillsborough streets and include 17,500 square feet of retail space, a 136-room hotel and 26 condos on the top floors.

Developers for both projects told WRAL News they are working to get back on track, but likely won’t open before 2010.