FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - A $15 million investment is going into downtown Florence bringing in a new Hyatt Place Hotel. This is the first hotel franchise to make its mark in the downtown district.
Raines Hospitality Group is heading up the project, which will be their second property after Hotel Florence first came at the start of the downtown revitalization. "Florence is home for us, it's where we want to be," said Grey Raines, President of Raines Hospitality, Inc. and partner of SpringBridge Development, LLC. The Hyatt Place Hotel will be the company's ninth property in the city of Florence.
The local family-owned hospitality business has operated for more than 50 years. This project is also creating 30 new jobs. The 103-room five-story Hyatt Place Hotel will sit at the corner of Dargan and Evans streets where the intersection was re-aligned to clear the lot. The negotiations with the city of Florence, Raines said, involved the street work, and designated parking just for the Hyatt Place.
"Raines Hospitality took a big risk early on saying we will put a hotel downtown and fortunately that has turned out to be a good investment for them so they are back with hotel number two," said Ray Reich, Downtown Florence Development Manager said.
Reich added if there are no downtown living and hotel options here then he said everything just dies. "As they say you can just roll up the streets, but when you put hotels down here those people aren't arriving until you know five or six o clock and the first thing they do after getting to the room is go out walk around, find a restaurant to eat at find a bar to get a drink. It adds that nighttime vibrancy," Reich said.
Reins said the Hyatt Place will have a full bar, full breakfast, and will create a neat and unique experience in downtown.
"People want connectivity, they want a local experience, they want to be a part of what's going on. You can travel anywhere and stay in a hotel, but you come to downtown Florence you get a taste of main street USA in Florence, South Carolina," stated Reins.
The impact the project has, Reich believes will stretch all over. "Especially now with having two hotels, and apartments that some of the stores will stay open a little bit longer because there will be a market there to justify the initial hours," said Reich.
The construction work, crane, and moving dirt will continue to happen in the next few weeks. "As we grow our geographical footprint across the southeast, Florence is always going to be home. As long as there is economic opportunity which we have seen having such great leadership with city council, our mayor, economic development with Joe King, it enables us to have opportunities to grow," Reins said.
The Hyatt Place Hotel is expected to be complete and open Summer 2018.