Opening of the first flagship hotel in downtown Covington
COVINGTON, Georgia. – More than a year after committing to be part of the large mixed-use development, construction of the first of three national flagship hotels is officially underway in downtown Covington.
City and county officials gathered Tuesday morning for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction on a Residence Inn by Marriott. Construction initially began in March, but a ceremony could not take place due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
The Residence Inn is one of three hotels in the national chain, including a Courtyard by Marriott and a Staybridge Suites, planned for the downtown area, with a combined investment of nearly $ 100 million. Authorities expect construction of the Courtyard Hotel to begin soon.
Harry E. Kitchen Jr., chairman of The Foxfield Company, which is the main developer in the city center, said the quality of the hotels spoke to only a fraction of the scale of the project.
“This is a total $ 300 million project,” Kitchen said in a recent telephone interview with The Covington News. “It’s an incredible project… I’ve been doing this for 32 years. This is the best and the biggest that we have ever done… It is an extraordinary project.
In addition to hotels, an apartment complex called The Cove at Covington Town Center will offer 350 “Class A” apartments on 26 acres. There are also plans for 625 townhouses for the residential portion of the project.
As announced in early March, a Publix supermarket will anchor the commercial area of the 180-acre development located off Alcovy Road. Kitchen said work on the site began in August and that he expected the store to open by next summer.
Kitchen also said restaurants such as Huey Magoos, Dunkin ‘and Panda Express, and an Aspen dental practice have also pledged to be part of the project, with many other “big names” and “junior anchors” on the way. He mentioned that some of them would include more dining and retail options, medical and commercial offices, and banks located on the outer plots.
One of the more low-key aspects of the project is the development’s roughly 29-acre acreage, which Kitchen says would be devoted to creating green spaces and preserving natural woods.
“We built around a ravine, so we did our best to fit it into the project and make it a amenity,” he said.
Kitchen also said there will be approximately five miles of walking trails and sidewalks.
Covington town center has been in development since 2016. Once the project is completed, Kitchen undoubtedly has a huge impact on the area. He said more than 31,000 vehicle trips per day would be made to downtown Covington, based on market research by The Foxfield Company, and more than 1,500 jobs could be created.