Downtown Raleigh looking to build more hotels for visitors

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- With all of the new businesses and apartment buildings popping up in Downtown Raleigh, it's hard to imagine the city needing more structures.

City leaders say Raleigh desperately needs hotels to keep up with the city's growing population and popularity.

One parking lot off of Salisbury Street will soon become a 166-unit Marriott.

Another developer is looking at an old tire shop off of Davie Street that could become a new Hilton hotel.

Loren Gold leads the team with the Convention Center to lure large businesses and trade groups to Raleigh. He says we compete with cities like Richmond, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. Gold says those cities have something Raleigh does not.

"If you look at a similar size convention center in a comparable market, there usually about 1500-2000 rooms around the convention center. We're about 1000," Gold said.

Downtown Raleigh has four hotels: the Marriott, the Sheraton, the Holiday Inn, and Hampton Suites. On average, those hotels stayed 68 percent booked in 2014. That is higher than the national, state, and Wake County average for hotels.

Raleigh is becoming more of a destination for travelers because of events like the Bluegrass Festival. Big businesses like Citrix and Red Hat are also bringing business travelers to the city.

"That then becomes a discussion of- do we need more inventory?" Gold said.

Gold and other city leaders say yes, more hotels are needed.

Raleigh city planners look at the makeup of Downtown to see what's missing and what can be done to bring in what is needed.

Just a few years ago, people were discussing the need for more housing. That's why there has been a recent boom in apartment construction.

Now, city planners are speaking with developers about city land and private land that could go to hotel development.

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