BY STEPHEN FASTENAU
Military personnel, travelers seeking new destinations from the latest list of places to go, and visitors drawn to various festivals could soon have more places to stay in Beaufort.
Several new hotels are planned for Beaufort, projects that would bring hundreds more rooms to the area.
The most recent proposal is Tru by Hilton, a 98-room, 38,000-square-foot hotel at Parris Island Gateway and County Shed Road. The building would be adjacent to another approved Hilton hotel called Home2 Suites, which would include 107 high-end rooms.
The hotels are the first two phases planned for a 10-acre tract being developed by HD Companies. The final phase would be a yet-to-be-determined commercial or retail component.
Developers hope the proximity to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort attracts professionals in town to service the growing F-35B fighter jet program, HD Companies land developer David Hornsby said. The hotels would also sit right on the Spanish Moss Trail, which Hornsby said will eventually be a tourist attraction.
The additional rooms would kickstart a stagnant market.
Room supply has been flat in uptown Beaufort for the past five years while demand for those rooms has grown, said Robb Wells, vice president of tourism for the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. Those conditions helped drive up average daily rates and revenue per available room — key metrics attracting developers.
“Those are all positive signs,” Wells said. “If they come in and fill the void, they are going to capture some of that.”
About 1,300 hotel rooms are in uptown Beaufort — the bulk of the approximately 1,600 rooms in the Beaufort and Port Royal area. The average daily rate for uptown properties in 2016 is $97, up from $88.81 during the same time frame in 2013.
The growth isn’t true for every hotel, but the overall trend is there.
“If you ask hoteliers, they’ll say it’s been a good four-year run,” Wells said.
The two Hilton properties are among about half a dozen prospects Wells said he has talked to during the past year.
Plans for Tru went before the city’s design review panel for the first time in November. Hornsby hopes to have permitting for Home2 completed in January and said construction could take about six to nine months.
In addition to those two hotels, a new Springhill Suites is planned at 2227 Boundary St., where an Econo Lodge will be demolished.
Developer Dick Stewart and his Beaufort Inn plan a 70-room hotel downtown at Scott and Port Republic streets. A smaller, 12-room inn is slated for Craven Street.
Stephen Fastenau: 843-706-8182, @IPBG_Stephen
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