Hartsfield-Jackson’s delayed hotel project set to get another extension

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport’s long-delayed hotel development is set to get another extension, which means the project construction may not start until July 2022.

A timeline in a proposed amended lease indicates the 14-story, 541-room hotel ― if built — could open in 2024. The lease amendment is scheduled to be considered by the Atlanta city council transportation committee on Wednesday.

The airport has been trying to develop a hotel next to the domestic terminal since 2014, and in 2015 selected a developer for the $350 million project. Atlanta’s then-mayor Kasim Reed announced in 2016 that construction of the hotel would begin by early 2018 and be completed in 2020.

“A number of challenges led to a slowdown in the hotel development project,” the airport said in a written statement.

Now, under a proposed lease amendment, the start of the lease could be delayed until July 12 of next year. And if developer Majestic Realty Co. cannot get financing for the project by then, Majestic can terminate the deal.

The amendment comes after multiple delays and changes to the project over the years. The property was originally envisioned as an InterContinental Hotel, but in 2019 developers announced it would instead be a Hilton.

Last year, Majestic asked for an extension of the due diligence period for more time to address challenges from the “continuous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the financial, hospitality and travel industries,” according to the airport. Air travel dropped 60% in 2020, and hotels around the world have struggled to rebuild business.

While Majestic originally planned to develop office space next to the airport along with the hotel, it would not be required to develop an office building under the amended lease.

Since the hotel project was first delayed, the airport has moved on with other projects in the same area for its $6 billion expansion and modernization master plan.

The hotel is near the construction zone of a $184 million extension of the Plane Train tunnel, where work began more than a year ago and runs until January 2023.

In the lease amendment, the airport would agree to complete construction work to relocate ground transportation traffic in the hotel development area by May 2022 and complete Plane Train tunnel work in time for the installation of a pedestrian bridge connecting the hotel to the terminal.