Arnold said the hotel will have a rooftop bar and terrace. There will be a restaurant and bar in the lobby, which will be in the back section of The Depot that once housed the Groove Shack dance club.
The hotel will also have an underground speakeasy, Arnold said, without elaborating.
The hotel “will be nicer than anything down there,” he said. “It will light up the Vista.”
Document filed with the city of Columbia’s zoning department say the hotel is a $40 million project. It also shows other areas that could be developed owned by Arnold behind the hotel and entertainment complex.
The hotel would be the fifth new hotel for downtown Columbia.
Developers are also building a Holiday Inn Express near the Columbia Police Department on Washington Street, converting a former office building into a full-service Holiday Inn near Main Street and turning the former Clarion Townhouse hotel on Gervais Street into two properties — a Home2Suites and Hilton Garden Inn.
Jason Outman, head of the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, has said a growing University of South Carolina, more tourists, and the steady influx of business people, state and federal workers, lobbyists and Fort Jackson parents are maxing out occupancy rates and driving up room rates.
Through the end of May, the 11 hotels in the downtown area — roughly from Blossom Street to Elmwood Avenue and Gregg Street to the Congaree River — had a 75.7 percent occupancy rate. That’s up from 70 percent last May.
Fred Delk, executive director of the Columbia Development Corp., which encourages and guides investment in the Vista and other areas of downtown said the hotel will augment the convention center and continue to boost downtown businesses.
“More hotels, more people, more credit cards,” he said. “Since it is right next door to the convention center, it will provide opportunities for people attending events there. We now have three hotels next door to the convention center.”
The other two are the Hilton Downtown Columbia and the Hampton Inn. There is also a Hyatt Place just across Gervais Street.