First Look: Hilton headed to Cool Springs corporate HQ hub

From the Nashville Business Journal:

By many measures, Nashville remains one of the nation's hottest hotel markets. This project reinforces how desirable the broader region remains in the eyes of hotel investors and developers. Nashville is riding a surge of record tourist visits, robust business travel and convention bookings. Williamson County is benefitting from spillover demand and also growing in its own right, even if the room rates aren't as eye-popping. After all, the county is growing faster than anywhere else in the state and adding jobs at a faster clip than anywhere else in the entire country.

The Hilton also signals an evolution for Chartwell. The Franklin-based company has done a number of hotels in the region and elsewhere, but this Hilton, and also one under construction in Green Hills, mark Chartwell's first full-service hotels in Middle Tennessee. Those types of hotels offer room service and other extra amenities aimed at elevating their stature. Those features require extra staff, which increases operating expenses and can lead to smaller profit margins. In turn, that generally makes these tougher projects to finance than a limited-service hotel (along the lines of something like a Comfort Inn, to pick one of many such brands).

"This will be a little more of a high-end experience, geared toward a little bit more of a high-end client," said Will Schaedle, who is Chartwell's director of acquisitions and development.

"We see good growth in the more suburban Brentwood/Franklin markets. It's on trend with Nashville, but on a smaller scale, and that's just due to the entire region being so on-fire with tourists," Schaedle added. "There is so much growth that even the markets out here in Brentwood and Franklin are seeing some record rates."

Schaedle said he expects the Hilton to charge an average daily rate of $180 around the time it turns one year old. "I imagine this Hilton … would be the Cool Springs market leader on rate," he said.

The hotel, by number of rooms, will be one of the larger ones in Williamson County. The biggest is the Drury Plaza Hotel Franklin, with 338 rooms, according to our Book of Lists research.

Chartwell has the necessary equity and bank commitments to build the hotel. He declined to disclose the project's price tag, or the identity of those backing the development.

Schaedle said he anticipates hiring Crain Construction, of Nashville, to build the hotel. Rabun Architects, of Atlanta, designed the hotel.

The hotel will have 5,900 square feet of meeting space, which Schaedle says puts Chartwell in position to pursue some group bookings.

In addition to the hotel, Chartwell is developing a parking garage with 232 spaces, for the use of hotel guests and workers in the nearby Meridian office buildings.