A downtown hotel under development would be a Springhill Suites by Marriott, according to the company working on the project.
Marriott last week gave its approval to use the brand, said Dan Scott, regional manager with Joliet-based Posh Hospitality.
Springhill Suites provides dedicated work spaces along with suite features, including separate areas for sleeping, working and lounging.
The project, which would add two floors to the old Barrett's Hardware store to create 82 rooms, still is dependent on city incentives coming through, Scott said.
But Posh Hospitality is moving ahead with plans for an upscale suites hotel with a restaurant, lounge, fitness center and at least 1,500 square feet of meeting space, he said.
"We are currently moving forward at this time and building a Marriott Springhill Suites," Scott said. "It's going to be one of the biggest private projects in downtown Joliet. We're looking to invest roughly $13 million in the project."
Economic Development Director Steve Jones said the city is in "early stages of negotiating a development agreement" with Posh Hospitality.
"City incentives would be part of that discussion," he said.
Jones noted that the building at 65 N. Ottawa St. is in a Tax Increment Financing District that provides property tax rebates and in a Special Service Area that qualifies for grants in support of downtown development.
Posh Hospitality now has three hotels in Joliet – Best Western Plus, Comfort Inn North and Quality Inn and Suites. Its owner, Mike Patel, has lived in the area since 1998, Scott said.
Scott is the current president of the Will County Lodging Association and said, "We really know the market well."
Springhill Suites is an upscale brand that Scott said his company expects will do well downtown, especially with the construction of a new county courthouse and other pending developments.
"We feel that there is a demand for this in downtown Joliet," he said.
Potential customers, he said, include guests from weddings staged in the downtown area, travellers doing business in the growing industrial area on the south end of Joliet, and customers at Harrah's Casino.
While the plan is to add two more floors to the four-story building, the hotel decor will likely include tributes to the historic Barrett's Hardware store. Scott said the new owners have come across items that go back as far as the 1920s.
"We're going to be designing in some of the old Barrett's artifacts that we've found throughout the building," he said.