The owners of the closed Holiday Inn in downtown Athens could make a decision in 30 to 60 days on the future of the property, a company official said this week.
The building is slated for demolition.
“There are so many rumors about what we did and didn’t do and who we sold it to,” Benson’s Inc. president Grant Tribble said this week.
“The truth is that we haven’t sold it to anyone and have nothing in the plans at the moment. We are just assessing what the best position for this property will be.
“We have several things in the hopper, but no final decision has been made on whether we will redevelop it or sell it.”
The hotel, which has been around for about 50 years with changes and redevelopments over time, sits in a prime location adjacent to the University of Georgia campus. The property is located on Broad Street between South Lumpkin and South Hull streets.
The hotel was closed when the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020.
“We closed it temporarily due to demand. Including this one we have five hotels in Athens and with the low demand it was more efficient to operate four than five and this is the one we have closed because it’s the oldest and most inefficient to run,” Tribble said. “We continued to keep it closed when the others opened because demand wasn’t back and even today the community-wide demand has not returned to pre-COVID levels. So it was purely economic.”
A company hired by Benson’s Inc. launched a liquidation sale that began Jan. 18 and was expected to last 30 days, according to the sale announcement.
Tribble said many people had purchased items “that are nostalgic”, while others were looking for things like tables and chairs. Many who have attended UGA have worked at the hotel over the years, he noted.
The hotel was for many years the tallest hotel in downtown Athens, rising seven stories high and boasting over 200 rooms and suites.
Benson’s Inc. also owns Spring Hills Suites, Holiday Inn Express, and Hilton Garden Inn, all located in or near downtown.
Tribble said the company will release a statement once a decision on ownership is made.
“We want to let the public know what we do once we get to this point,” he said.