0

Marriott Atlanta Airport Gateway hotel opens

By Maria-Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

The Marriott Atlanta Airport Gateway hotel is the newest addition to the Gateway Center, located in College Park. The hotel is in close proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the airport's rental car center, via the ATL SkyTrain.

According to Hartsfield-Jackson's web site -- www.atlanta-airport.com -- the elevated train connects people to the airport's passenger terminal, the Gateway Center and the rental car center.

The hotel is located at 2020 Convention Center Concourse, and is a neighbor to SpringHill Suites Atlanta Airport Gateway, the Georgia International Convention Center and Gateway Center One, a four-story office building.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the hotel was held on Tuesday, a day before it opened for service, said Robert Woolridge, general manager at the hotel.

Those attending the event included officials from Marriott International, Inc.; Grove Street Partners, LLC, the hotel's developer; and the City of College Park, according to Amber Rigsby, media relations manager for Schroder Public Relations, which represents Grove Street Partners.

The hotel's first guest was scheduled to arrive at 10 a.m., on Wednesday, added Woolridge. "It feels great," said Woolridge, of the hotel's grand opening. "I couldn't ask for a better situation."

According to the hotel's web site, www.marriott.com, the facility has seven floors, 385 rooms and 18 suites. Guests can choose from a variety of rooms, including a 288-square-foot room, with a king-sized bed, or two double beds. The room also contains a personal bathroom and work area. Prices vary, based on the type of room.

The Marriott Atlanta Airport Gateway also offers a 12,000-square-foot ballroom and 20,000 square feet of meeting space, according to its web site. In addition, the hotel provides Champions restaurant, an eatery with a modern ambiance, offering a variety of food and drinks. The M.I. Greatroom lounge has a "relaxing atmosphere where patrons can dine, while socializing or using their laptops," according to the web site.

The hotel, said spokesperson Rigsby, has many "green" features and was created in keeping with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) concepts.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council's web site -- www.usgbc.org -- a LEED-certified building is created, and built, to promote energy savings, water efficiency, carbon-dioxide emissions reduction, indoor environmental quality, and the stewardship of resources.

In an e-mailed statement, Rigsby said the "hotel was created with 10 percent recycled material and a landscape/irrigation system design that reduces water consumption by 50 percent."

Other environmentally friendly features include a white roof to reduce heat absorption, the use of non-coal-produced energy, and low-flow plumbing and water fixtures, Rigsby added.

Mary Baxter, Atlanta senior marketer and e-commerce manager for Marriott International, said It will take the hotel about six months, to a year, to obtain a LEED certification. According to Marriott International officials, the hotel was expected to apply for certification upon opening Wednesday.

"Additionally, the hotel must first register for LEED certification with the U.S. Green Building Council, who then determines if the hotel meets the requirements, and at what level they will earn LEED certification," said Baxter, in an e-mailed statement.

According to Kevin Kern, president of Grove Street Partners, the company was chosen for the Marriott project by the City of College Park, in August 2006. That same month, Grove Street Partners began working on the project, and broke ground on the building in September of 2008.

"You look around and you feel like, 'Wow, I don't feel like I am in College Park,'" added Jim Stormont, a partner with Grove Street Partners. Stormont said the project became a reality, thanks to a private-public partnership Grove Street Partners had with other key contributors, including the City of College Park, Marriott International, and Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates, Inc., an architectural firm in Atlanta.

Jack Longino, the mayor of College Park, said about $100 million was invested on the Marriott hotel project, through the private-public partnership, and everything was on schedule and under-budget. He said the completion of the hotel ends the first phase of the Gateway Center project, which includes a total of three phases.

For the second phase, Longino said some retail and restaurant venues are expected to be added. Eventually, the center will also include additional hotels and offices. "This part [Gateway Center] will make College Park the destination for a lot of people," he said.s