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Plans unclear for five-story Aloft hotel in Pooler

  • A rendering of an Aloft hotel under construction in downtown Savannah. The development firm building the hotel has proposed a second location in Pooler, near the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. (Courtesy photo)

With the path forward somewhat unclear, planners in Pooler on Monday agreed to table plans for a new, five-story Aloft hotel in rapidly growing Godley Station.

The family owned development firm HOS Management is proposing the new hotel for a 3-acre site at the corner of Towne Center Drive and Benton Boulevard. Speaking on behalf of HOS this week, Doug Faircloth, with the Savannah-based Coleman Co., said the project includes 129 rooms on five floors and a maximum building height of more than 70 feet.

According to city documents, plans for the Pooler location have already been reviewed by the Southern Portion of Godley Station Association. The group signed off on a 20-foot height variance for the hotel, along with building signage, parking, landscaping and variances for parking setbacks.

But planning commissioners this week were unsure whether the variance approvals from the architectural review board would be adequate for the project to move forward without some sort of city review, and some had their own reservations about building to such a height.

“We’ve got variances and ordinances for a reason,” said Planning Commissioner Brian Cornwell. “We need to start doing a better job of adhering to them.”

In addition, Planning Commissioner Alice White said the traffic in this area of the city is already akin to “Armageddon” — and the addition of another hotel in the area would only make it worse.

The board’s action this week postpones consideration of the project until the planning commission’s next meeting, which is scheduled for April 10.

If the project is ultimately approved for construction, the hotel would mark the third approved for the Towne Center area of Godley Station during the past few years. Already, plans have been approved for a 107-room Hilton Home2 Suites in Godley Station, which is under construction next door to a 117-room Residence Inn on nearby Towne Center Boulevard.

It would also be the second Aloft hotel announced for Chatham County. Earlier this year, HOS Management introduced plans for an Aloft location in downtown Savannah. Construction is under way and completion is expected within two years.

“It’s more of a modern-feel, contemporary hotel,” Vice President of HOS Management Riki Patel said of the planned 135-room Savannah Aloft location during an interview with Business In Savannah in January. “It’s something very unique. It’s very vibrant.”

In other business, the planning commission:

• Approved landscape plans for Rushing Mini-Warehouses at 35 Coleman Blvd.

• Approved final plats for Lots 10-14 of Towne Park Pooler, Phase 1.

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