December 10, 2019–8:00 a.m.
Berry College and Marriott International have announced that a Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott hotel will rise on college-owned property next to the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College in 2021.
Construction is scheduled to begin in fall 2020 on the 100-room hotel, which will be managed by Atlanta-based Hotel Equities.
“Based upon our market analysis of room demand in Rome, plus the demand of tennis center and college events, there is a clear need for a hotel in this area,” said Berry President Steve Briggs. “And in keeping with Berry’s mission, there will be numerous job opportunities for students, from the front desk and reception to the service areas.”
Joe Reardon, Chief Development Officer for Hotel Equities, said “we are proud to be selected by Berry College to operate this new Marriott-branded hotel on campus. We found immediate alignment in culture and vision with the administration and we look forward to helping them achieve their objectives.”
Berry Vice President for Finance Brian Erb said the project is an investment from the college’s endowment, and aligns with college priories focusing on alternative revenue streams that support the college mission, provide opportunities for student employment, and provide an amenity for the community of Rome.
“Hotels are oftentimes a guest’s first impression of a community. Whether it be a new or prospective student, their parents or a competing sports team, we look forward to being ambassadors for Berry College by delivering guests their first glimpse of Berry’s incredible campus culture,” Hotel Equities’ Executive Vice President Bryan DeCort added.
Berry officials noted the success of the tennis center, coupled with the numerous events at the college — such as conferences, camps or visiting athletic teams — makes it a worthwhile investment. The city of Rome is currently building six indoor courts at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College – already one of the largest facilities of its type in the United States.
The center – a public-private partnership between Berry and other entities – is one of a handful of complexes nationally honored as a United States Tennis Association “Outstanding Tennis Facility” in 2019. It has welcomed thousands of players and spectators for local, state, regional, national and international events since opening in 2016 as a 60-court outdoor facility located on 30 acres of Berry-donated property.
Briggs said the timing is great to pursue a hotel on the site.
“We are excited to continue to add to the success of the award-winning tennis center with a hotel that supports and expands the center’s economic impact and success. And with The Spires set to welcome its first residents in June, both projects will provide great opportunities for students and add to the appeal of the Rome/Floyd community,” Briggs said.
Hotel Equities will also serve as the project manager by providing development services throughout the hotel’s construction phase, with direct oversight from Vice President of Projects and Facilities Patrick Trainor.