By John Schaffner
editor@reporternewspapers.net

Coro Realty Advisors is in the midst of a zoning application approval for a tract on Piedmont Road just north of Peachtree Road that includes at least one hotel and likely will have two hotels side by side.

Expected on the site in June 2010, across Piedmont Road from the Terminus project of Cousins Properties and where the Bridgetown Grille formerly was, are two hotel brands from Starwood: Aloft and Element.

Despite the lack of an announcement or a final deal, Starwood already lists the Buckhead hotels on its Web site.

John Lundeen, the president of Coro Realty, confirmed that his Buckhead company, in partnership with Gainesville-based McKibbon Hotel Group Inc., is in the final negotiation stages with Starwood to develop the two hotels. McKibbon has been in the hotel business for almost half a century.

Coro and McKibbon will develop the Aloft and Element hotels as part of Coro’s expansion of its Buckhead Place, a 13-acre mixed-use development that encompasses all of the northwest corner of Peachtree and Piedmont roads except for the site owned by the Rooms to Go furniture store.

The $60 million hotel project will include a 180-to-190-unit Aloft, which is a modern-style nightly-stay hotel, similar in style to the W hotels but with a more affordable room rate in the range of $150 per night. Element, which will have 130 to 140 units, is an extended-stay hotel.

The development plan also calls for a parking deck between the hotels, and the existing Buckhead Place parking deck would serve hotel patrons as well as traffic for a future office or residential building likely to be developed next to the hotels.

Lundeen said the hotel development would use an existing driveway off Piedmont Road, and a median strip would be placed along Piedmont in that area to help control traffic flow.

The Buckhead Place tract has a Hyatt Place hotel that faces Peachtree Road. That hotel is next to Coro’s new 05 Buckhead 20-story, 155-unit tower of luxury apartments, now under construction. Tenants are expected to begin moving into 05 Buckhead apartments in mid-March. The apartment tower will include 9,100 square feet of office and retail space.

Coro also is developing the Tremont mixed-use apartment/retail complex at the corner of Roswell and Habersham roads in Buckhead, just north of Buckhead Place off Piedmont Road.

Coro oversees a diverse portfolio of more than 3 million square feet of commercial space, including retail, office and industrial, and more than 1,500 residential units. It also co-developed the Gallery condominiums at 2795 Peachtree Road with the Novare Group. That project opened in December 2007.

Lundeen said Coro purchased the Buckhead Place land “because of its key location in the heart of Buckhead. It is destined to become a dynamic, urban mixed-use project.”

Redevelopment of the Buckhead Place site began in 1994 with the construction of a project that now includes Hyatt Place, Rock Bottom Brewery and Restaurant, and retail tenants Marshall’s, LA Fitness, Insperience and Priscilla’s of Boston.

Lundeen said the amount of office development taking place at Terminus across Piedmont Road and in that area of Buckhead suggests there will be ample business for the planned overnight-stay and extended-stay hotels.

“Just look what has happened in that area in the past two years” in terms of development, he said.

Starwood Hotels describes Aloft as “a high-design hotel, like W Hotels, at an affordable price point, with accessible technology, style and a social atmosphere. Aloft offers atmospheric public spaces designed to draw guests from their rooms to mix and mingle.”

Guest rooms feature urban-influenced design. Each Aloft room is also a combination high-tech office and entertainment center, featuring wireless Internet access and plug-and-play connectivity for gadgetry such as PDAs, cellphones, MP3 players and laptop computers, all linked to a flat-panel high-definition television.

Starwood presents Element as a brand extension of Westin Hotels & Resorts. “Element is an extended-stay hotel incorporating modern style and a social environment into a category often associated with generic features.”

The amenities include a full kitchen in each guest room, healthy food choices and a gym.