The company wanting to build a six-story hotel in the Vista over the objections of other hotel owners who say they were limited to five stories asked for a last minute deferral Tuesday before Columbia City Council was to make a final decision on whether the project could go forward.
The proposal also is being opposed by some Vista residents, who said the height of the planned Hyatt Place hotel would block their views of the State House.
Officials with Atlanta’s Noble Investment asked for the deferral shortly before council was to vote on the building, which is planned for Gervais Street between Lincoln Street and the railroad cut.
But the issue was pulled after the owners of other nearby hotels, such as the Hampton Inn and SpringHill Suites, complained that Noble was being given preferential treatment and retained an attorney.
The company offered no reason for the deferral, an action surprising to some because City Council on July 17 approved the project 5-0. However, Brian DeQuincey Newman, who represents the Vista and other downtown areas, was not at that July 17 meeting.
Newman told The State on Tuesday that had the company not asked for a deferral, he would have.
“We need time to make the correct decision,” he said.
Efforts to reach company officials after the meeting were unsuccessful.
Newman said that the city did increase the height restrictions several years ago, and no compromise is currently in place.
“But there are concerns in the community and we want to hear them,” he said.
Council did not discuss the issue at Tuesday’s meeting.
City staff members had recommended approval of the taller building because it was part of a planned unit development passed in 2007, which included the conversion of the adjacent Columbia Supply Building into a Jason’s Deli. The renovated building also includes offices for the Miller Valentine development company, which owns the property.
Efforts to reach Miller Valentine officials also were unsuccessful.
Tony Tam, general manager of the Hilton Columbia Center and Hampton Inn, is leading the opposition and said he was surprised when he learned of the deferral.
“You know as much as I do,” he said.
In addition to the hotel, the six-story height of the Hyatt also is being opposed by some Vista residents, who say it blocks their view of the State House and downtown skyline.
Toby Ward, the attorney for the hotels in opposition, on Monday told The State that he was not ruling out a lawsuit.
Newman said the threat of legal action wouldn’t sway council’s decision.
“That threat is a threat we encounter on almost every decision we make,” he said.
Map: The location of the proposed Hyatt Place HotelView Hyatt Place Hotel proposed for Vista in a larger map