New hotel proposed for Tupelo

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

CORRECTION: The hotel developers for the proposed Candlewood Suites are seeking to rezone property from residential to commercial. In a story last week, we incorrectly reported the zoning classifications. Our apologies.

TUPELO – A Tupelo developer is working to open an extended stay hotel behind the Howard Johnson.
But the current plans for the Candlewood Suites require property to be rezoned from commercial to residential, which is raising questions from residents in the Beledeere neighborhood.
Bruce Patel, of ABRMP Management, has asked the city to rezone 15 feet of his property at the intersection of McCullough Boulevard and North Gloster Street.
He was on the agenda for the city’s March planning meeting, but the issue was tabled after residents at the meeting said they had questions.
The committee asked officials from ABRMP and the neighborhood to discuss the project and their concerns before the vote takes place, said city planner Pat Falkner.
The first private meeting happened Wednesday, and Patel said the reason for the gathering was to explain the tentative proposal to the residents.
“All we’re doing is talking,” said Alan Burns, operations director for ABRMP. “No plans are drawn up. It’s only a concept at this point.”
As of Wednesday, the Candlewood plan calls for a four-story hotel to replace an older addition to the Howard Johnson. The 81-room hotel will be geared to Toyota-related contractors and other temporary workers.
The rooms have kitchenettes and are meant for stays of at least two weeks, Burns said.
“It’s just like moving into a furnished apartment,” Burns said. “It’s like a hotel in that there’s not a definite length of tenancy.”
But the project may change based on what comes out of the meetings with the neighbors, Patel said.
Falkner also said that city code doesn’t allow a structure to be more than 35 feet if it is within 100 feet of the residential boundary.
So, Patel said he is looking at various options, including having a three-story hotel that is wider to accommodate the same number of rooms. Plus, there has to be room for parking.
Candlewood will share the existing access road with the Howard Johnson, Patel said.
He also said he won’t alter the tree line on the one-acre wooded property that buffers the commercial area from the residential area. Patel owns the wooded property as well. He would like to add a fence to further help buffer the residential area.
“We want to make sure we meet city codes and the residences are happy too because at the end of the day, they’re going to be our neighbors,” Patel said. “We’re trying to work with the community. … My kid goes to school with their kids.”
A spokesman for the Beledeere neighbors declined to comment until the group learns more about the project.
ABRMP owns the Howard Johnson and Comfort Suites in Tupelo and will open the Best Western on North Gloster this summer. The company also owns the Holiday Inn Express in Fulton.

Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@journalinc.com.