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ATLANTA-A $20-million renovation is planned throughout this year for the 760-room Sheraton Atlanta at 165 Courtland St. Funding for the enhancements at the Downtown hotel and conference center has already been secured by its owner, Philadelphia-based Amerimar Enterprises Inc., says general manager Niles Harris.

Plans and funding were in place before the current credit crisis, Harris tells GlobeSt.com. A total of $70 million has already been spent over the past seven years at the property, which is considered Atlanta’s flagship Sheraton hotel. A $10-million conference center was recently added, bringing 90,000 square feet of meeting and event space to the area.

“Strategically it’s an important asset for the company as a property in Downtown Atlanta, which is one of the top five convention markets in the country,” explains Harris. “We’re pursuing renovations in 2009 because the timing is right. This year is going to be a somewhat ‘down’ year nationally, and certainly Atlanta is no different. This is a great time to investment in the property to position it for success once the economy comes out of a recession.”

Each room will receive some type of enhancement, and a hotel-wide energy efficient water-heating system will be applied to increase efficiency by more than 50%. Bathrooms will be remodeled and LCD flat-screen TVs will be installed, along with a new keycard system and energy efficient lighting. In addition, 70 rooms will be extended by 60 square feet, says Harris.

The hotel has been part of Downtown Atlanta since 1965, and is located 15 minutes from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and within walking distance of Peachtree Center, Centennial Park, CNN Center, The Georgia Aquarium, New World of Coke, Underground Atlanta and the Georgia World Congress Center. Additional amenities at the hotel include an indoor/outdoor poolside Garden Courtyard with a retractable roof, a 24-hour fitness center, full-service business center, concierge, two ballrooms, two restaurants, martini bar and a 24-hour deli.

Amerimar will open the doors of its newest Southeast venture later this month, reveals Harris. The company’s 248-room Hutton Hotel at 1808 West End Ave. in Nashville, TN is an upscale, boutique property. Hutton Hotel will also feature two penthouse apartments, 13,600 square feet of event space, 1808 Grille and a coffee bar.

In related news, two more Downtown Atlanta hotels have announced major renovations. The Atlanta Marriot Marquis and the Hilton Atlanta are planning the construction of a pedestrian sky bridge above Courtland Street between Harris and Baker Streets to connect the two venues. According to a press release, the new bridge will link the hotels’ combined 2,800 rooms and 279,000 square feet of meeting and event space. In addition, the Hilton Atlanta is also undergoing a multi-million dollar refurbishment project, which will add new fixtures and furniture to the hotel’s 1,226 rooms.

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