Image: Renderings of the AC Hotel by Marriott that will be built as part of Phase Two of Hill Center Brentwood.
By LANDON WOODROOF
Plans for a new hotel, two new retail spaces, a new office building and a new parking garage at Hill Center Brentwood were approved at Tuesday night’s Planning Commission meeting.
These additions represent Phase Two of the overall Hill Center Brentwood project. Phase One has seen 237,828-square-feet of office, retail and restaurant space open at the corner of Maryland Way and Franklin Road. This next phase will add 196,933 more square feet to the development.
Perhaps the most high profile part of this next phase is the new hotel. An AC Hotel by Marriott will be built behind the current parking garage at the site. The 141-room, four-story hotel will be constructed adjacent to Maryland Way Park. A connection will be built to the park to allow easy access for guests, shoppers and workers at Hill Center Brentwood.
H.G. Hill Realty Co. Chairman and CEO Jimmy Granbery said a hotel at the development would generate less traffic than an office building, which is what had initially been planned for this part of the complex.
He cited a study which showed a 141-room hotel would generate 424 less trips a day than a 100,000-square-foot office building.
“The problem with office space is everybody comes and everybody leaves at pretty much the same time,” Granbery said before the meeting. Hotel traffic is more dispersed.
Phase Two will also see the addition of two roughly 10,000-square-foot retail liners at the center. One liner will be constructed in front of the existing parking garage while another will be built in front of a two-story parking garage that will also be constructed as part of this phase.
Granbery said these buildings are intended for small shop retail spaces, similar to those that already exist elsewhere at Hill Center Brentwood.
“There will be no restaurants,” Granbery said. “We’ve got all the restaurants we had planned for in the very beginning based on parking, based on water, based on sewer, based on grease traps, all those sort of things.”
The new 92,952-square-foot office space will also be constructed at the back of the current site. John Mize, CEO of State Volunteer Mutual Insurance, announced plans at the meeting for his company to move into this new building when it is completed.
“We’re excited about what it will do for our employees with the restaurants within walking distance and the businesses,” Mize said. He said having a hotel at the site would be ideal for the company as well. People traveling in town for business with State Volunteer Mutual Insurance could stay just yards away.
“We’re thrilled with what H.G. Hill has done already,” he said. “We think it’s a great development, and we look forward to being part of it going forward.”
Several residents who live close to Hill Center Brentwood attended the meeting and voiced some concerns around the new phase of the development. Mainly, they worried about lights from the new building shining into their yards as well as the possible effect new construction could have on stormwater runoff.
Ann Calton read a letter aloud from her neighbor, Janice Duks, on the issue of stormwater.
“I’m concerned with all the concrete,” she read. “There is nowhere for water to absorb and even more will flow into our backyards and homes.”
City Engineer Steve Foster said his department constantly looks at ways to try to improve drainage in Brentwood neighborhoods and would continue to do so.
City Manager Kirk Bednar said stormwater mitigation plans were included in the initial approval process for Hill Center Brentwood. He also said parts of nearby neighborhoods like Meadowlake and Iroquois Estates were in the flood plain.
“There were no flood plain regulations when that neighborhood was built in that area,” Bednar said.
Phase One of Hill Center Brentwood is 100 percent leased and nearly 100 percent occupied, Granbery said. The only retail spaces yet to open are the fast-casual restaurant Chopt Creative Salad Co. and manduu, a personal training facility that uses electric muscle stimulation to help people get in shape.
Granbery said he had heard nothing but positive things from tenants and visitors to Hill Center Brentwood. It is a trend he wants to see continue into the next phase.
“Everyday it gets a little better and a little better,” he said.
The Planning Commission unanimously approved both a revised preliminary plan and a site plan for Phase Two Tuesday night.