Beale St. gets a new hotel - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Beale St. gets a new hotel

The four-star Westin Hotel is moving to the heart of Beale Street. Developers call this a pivotal moment in the history of the booming Entertainment District.

By early 2007, bustling Beale Street will have a new 9-story, 203-room hotel and it is just the beginning. "It's almost a breakthrough. About $3 billion worth of projects are happening in the downtown area right now," explained Jeff Sanford, President of the Center City Commission."

The developer for the hotel says the Fed Ex Forum was a big draw. "That certainly has added new dimension downtown, but it already had the Beale Street entertainment, the Peabody Place, you have the baseball stadium," said Dave Jones, CEO of the Senate Hospitality Group, LLC.

The NBA will make out nice in the deal. The top floor of the Westin will have custom, oversized rooms for the players. The floor below will house suites for the coaches just a stone's throw from the Forum. "The players literally can roll out of those gigantic heavenly beds right over to the practice court at Fed Ex Forum," enthused Grizzlies Business Operations Director, Andy Dolich.

Other big projects blossoming on Beale: A 536-space parking garage next to the Westin; a 27-story condo/luxury hotel overlooking the river; the Beale Street Landing dock, part of a Riverfront Development project that has endured years of resistance. "There's always some resistance, but what we have to focus on is the big picture and the big picture is making the Beale Street district an entertainment mecca for the United States," said Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton.

With all the new housing development, it appears retail development is just on the horizon. With 25,000 people living downtown, 68,000 working downtown and millions of tourists visiting the area each year, the Center City Commission says the city needs retail and hospitality services to support the growth.

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