Planning Commission approves ‘Chancellor’s House’

town_oxford_greenBy Errol Castens

Daily Journal

OXFORD – A 31-suite boutique hotel planned for one of downtown Oxford’s most prominent corners won final approval this week from city officials. Members of the Planning Commission gave their OK to the Chancellor’s House site plan, and permits can be issued as soon as construction documents can be drawn.

Developers of the Chancellor’s House say they hope to start the project almost immediately.

“The goal is to have about a 12-month timeframe, starting as soon as we can,” said project engineer Paul McLeod of Elliot & Britt Engineering. “The goal is to have it up and running for next (year’s) football season.”

The hotel will feature underground valet parking for its guests, along with a formal garden and rooftop terrace. Its developers also promise airport and ballgame pick-up and drop-off for guests.

Commission approval of the site plan is conditional on four stipulations:

• Traffic leaving the basement garage will be permitted to turn only right onto University Avenue, as visibility is limited for oncoming traffic from the intersection.

• No vehicles will back into or out of University Avenue.

• No construction vehicles will be permitted to block the intersection.

• The public works director in consultation with the chief of police will enact a traffic control plan during construction. This stipulation reflects a prospective ordinance that would affect all major construction in congested areas of Oxford.

The 40,000-square-foot structure will be allowed to operate without a trash bin, as the building footprint leaves no space for an outdoor trash bin, and the garage cannot accommodate garbage trucks. Instead, hotel employees will use a street-legal vehicle to transport trash to nearby city-owned trash containers, as do several businesses on the Square.

The Chancellor’s House is one of five boutique hotels either under construction or in active planning near the Square. In addition, the TownePlace Suites by Marriott, a 95-unit extended-stay hotel, is scheduled to open next month across from the Oxford Conference Center.

errol.castens@journalinc.com