COOKEVILLE – A Knoxville-based hotel developer is returning to Cookeville for a second time – and heading a new construction project that promises a few firsts for future Upper Cumberland guests.
M. Gibson Hotels, which owns and operates the city’s Fairfield Inn & Suites, has plans for a new TownePlace Suites by Marriott next door to the 81-room building on South Jefferson Avenue. Site work is underway and construction is expected to start this month. The Gibson group is targeting a September 2016 completion.
But the roughly $10 million, 49,000-square-foot project will also mean a few firsts. The TownPlace is an extended-stay brand, the first in the Upper Cumberland. It will also be the only hotel to offer a shared outdoor courtyard space, just one perks that comes with neighboring facilities.
As an extended stay, each room will feature a kitchen, with a refrigerator, stove and microwave, and full china, glass and silverware.
“The brand is really designed for seven-night-stay clients, although we will have some single-night and two-night guests,” C. Michael Gibson, CEO, Gibson Hotel Management & Development Inc., said. “We have demand at our Fairfield Inn right now for extended stay. When you have new construction in the market, and for recruiting purposes, there’s a need. People filter in and out of the marketplace – if the hospital brings in a doctor they’re recruiting, Tennessee Tech has clients coming into the city, or if people are looking for housing. Some people don’t want to go out to eat every night, either. That’s kind of client base demographic wise we’re trying to draw.”
The outdoor courtyard, meanwhile, will be accessible to both TownePlace and Fairfield guests, and conversely, Fairfield Inn’s indoor pool facility will be open to those staying at TownePlace. The courtyard will feature a large outdoor pool, fire pit, grill, pergola seating, cornhole court and restroom amenities.
“This is going to be very convenient and user friendly,” Gibson said. “You’ll have comfortable seating there, if you want to read a book or have a glass of wine by the pool. I’ve used this concept before (in Pigeon Forge), and it’s really worked beautifully.”
Overall, the hotel will feature 93 rooms – all suites – on five stories, a state-of the-art fitness center, 24/7 pantry with food products and beverages, complementary breakfast, free Wi-Fi and more, all with a sleek, modern feel. Rooms will start at $109-plus, with negotiated rates for corporations and those staying longer than a week.
Wilson Bank & Trust is the lender for the project. Additionally, Cookeville-based J&S Construction is serving as contractor, and Maryville’s Best & Associates is the architect of record.
“This is the newest design for TownePlace Suites, 2015, which we’re excited about,” Gibson added. “We’re excited to be in Cookeville again.”