New Banks hotel will target 'millennial travelers'

May 11, 2015

AC Hotels by Marriott will soon be coming to the Banks. County and city officials are expected to sign off on the project by the end of the month.

The seven story hotel built by Winegardner & Hammons, Inc. will have about 165 rooms, a rooftop terrace, and a Spanish tile exterior. The $35 million project will be on Joe Nuxhall Way just across from Great American Ball Park.

Rooms will go for about $180 per night, which Winegardner & Hammons, Inc. says is the average downtown rate (not including the Millennium Hotel). President Mike Conway says the upscale hotel brand is designed for the "millennial traveler." That's people born between 1980 and 2000. Conway says millennial travelers account for 50 percent of all hotel bookings in the United States. "And by the end of the decade it'll be over 70 percent of hotel bookings," says Conway. "So if you're not building a hotel today for that segment of the lodging demand - and they're 95 million in population - you're not going to have the greatest opportunity for success."

Banks project counsel Tom Gabelman says the hotel project includes no city or county tax abatements or incentives. He also says there's renewed interest in including a grocery store in one of the next phases of the Banks.

Developers want to include a four-story animation board that will display moving images and bright colors. They say it will not be used for advertising.