This story was originally published on October 14th, 2018 on the website.
Originally proposed in November 2016 (but revealed in February 2017), the Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel would rise on the site formerly occupied by Harry's Bar. Richmond Heights based developer, Equis Hotels, planned the $20 Million hotel and enlisted the help of St. Louis based Chiodini Architects to design the new hotel. The site chosen is an interesting one as it is extremely narrow and long. It's also odd as it sits along the 22nd Street Interchange, but that may soon change as you'll see later on. The hotel was proposed around the same time the first MLS2STL group unveiled their plans for a publicly financed stadium at the 22nd Street site. The hotel wasn't included in the site plan for said Stadium and caused a issue for the ownership group and Equis as the two had no known communication with each other.
Fast forward to now, the original MLS2STL ballot measure failed and the Fairfield Inn project just received it's first building permit valued at $11 Million. The project moving forward presents a different vision than what was originally unveiled in February 2017. Those plans called for a rather suburban looking hotel of 5 floors overlooking the 22nd interchange. Now, those plans have seemed to have grown to a 7 floor hotel. The 6th and 7th floors appear to be for some overlook feature which means that Chiodini and Equis are taking the potential MLS Stadium into play here. As we all know, a new soccer group was formed by the Taylor and Kavanaugh families of St. Louis last week. They plan to build their own stadium on the 22nd Street interchange by 2022 if things go according to plan.
The new MLS Group must've been in communication with Equis and Chiodini as far as design goes. The fact that a overlook has been added to the hotel symbolizes a move to capitalize off of the MLS Stadium long before it even breaks ground. Plus, the proposal to build an MLS Stadium here would require it to be repositioned from what was originally unveiled by the MLS2STL group in 2016. If it isn't repositioned, a redesign is in order to keep Equis' investment safe and wise. This could also be considered the first instance of development surrounding the stadium.
The Fairfield Inn comes as Marriott is greatly expanding their portfolio into urban centers and Downtowns. For Downtown St. Louis, Marriott's recent additions include the Marriott Grand and Courtyard Hotel on Washington and the soon to open Hotel Saint Louis at 705 Olive. The Fairfield Inn joins those hotels in it's neighbor, the Courtyard Hotel and whatever hotels Marriott is planning for downtown St. Louis. Parking for this $20 Million hotel will be in a two floor structured parking garage whose capacity stands at 110 spaces, the room count stands at 125.
Since the building permits were implemented on October 3rd, construction has started with site-prep work ongoing. According to Equis, the goal is to have the hotel open by 2020.
Downtown's Hotel Boom
Since 2015, the following hotels have been announced, and many, have begun construction. Here are the names... The Last Hotel on Washington: 142 Rooms Live! By Loews: 216 Rooms Hotel Indigo: 86 Rooms Hotel Saint Louis: 140 Rooms Hyatt Place: 150 Rooms Fairfield Inn and Suites: 137 Rooms AC Hotel @ the Jefferson Arms: 200 Rooms
TOTAL ROOM COUNT: 1071 Hotel Rooms by 2021 (so far).
The question right now is, "how many more hotels can Downtown St. Louis support?". Well, it's hard to tell. We are almost certain to receive a large hotel in the Railway Exchange Building but that's basically it. We've seen the Millennium Hotel close and currently, it appears the City Place Hotel (former Crowne Plaza) is the next to go. The Red Lion (former Sheraton) isn't doing to well either so only time will tell who stays and who goes in the Downtown hotel market.