Monday, April 15, 2013

DHA Meeting Curb Cuts and Hotels

Brookhaven is getting a new full-service Hyatt hotel, just inside '285'.  Sandy Springs is getting a new fancy hotel or two as well.  What about Dunwoody?  Well, a developer wants to put in a Hampton Inn and some other retail along Ashford Dunwoody Road (across from California Pizza Kitchen, aka CPK).

This project is a good sign and one I hope gets built.  No issues with the project, except they want a curb cut onto Ashford Dunwoody Road.  For those of you not in the know on infrastructure and street-scape lingo, a curb cut is a way for people to turn in and out of a lot onto a street.  It is where there is no curb.  You know Publix across from Mellow Mushroom?  It has a curb cut - a bad one.  People can enter and leave Publix onto Chamblee Dunwoody Rd (aka Main Street) to the left or right.  That particular curb cut should be right in and right out only.  That one change would do a lot to improve traffic in the area.  If you want to go north toward GA 400 from Publix you should be forced to go to the traffic signal by the new Chase Bank. 

Curb cuts can slow traffic and increase accidents with pedestrians and bikers.  But curb cuts do allow easier/quicker access to a business.  Too many curb cuts (Chamblee Dunwoody Road and Ashford Dunwoody Rd) and you have increased traffic issues. New street projects limit curb cuts.

So back to the new hotel planned for Ashford Dunwoody Road.  This property used to have a curb cut guaranteed to it based on a land swap back in the 1980's.  Then in 2008 the property owner wanted some zoning changes made to the property.  In exchange for these zoning changes they gave up the curb cut.  The site plan on file today allows for a hotel and retail, but not the curb cut. But the developer says the hotel folks insist on the curb cut.  The develop also said the curb cut is a make or break part of the development deal.  I say the city calls their bluff.  A curb cut is NOT a make or break item for a property like a hotel.

How many readers out there book hotels?  How do you book your hotel?  First you seek a location.  Okay, Dunwoody is your location.  You have business in the area (or all the downtown hotels are booked and you need a room for the Final Four or SEC Championship game).  You've decided on Dunwoody.  Next you think about brand loyalty. Are you a Marriott Rewards member? Or Perhaps a PriorityRewards member via IHG.  Or maybe you look at Trip Advisor or Expedia (sorry CVB, most people do not search the CVB for hotels, unless you are linked to an event web site).  Then you check pricing, amenities, and availability.

Amenities?  What do people look for in a hotel?  Free breakfast, free Internet, parking rates, swimming pool, bar, restaurant.......  How about curb cut?  Nope.  People don't look for a curb cut.  If a Hampton Inn opens in Dunwoody it will sell rooms based on location, brand name, price, and reputation.  Have you ever read a review on Trip Advisor stating, "The hotel was excellent, just as we hoped.  Our entire party had a great time.  The rooms were quiet and clean, water pressure was excellent, and the free breakfast was awesome. I'd give this hotel 5 stars except it does not have a curb cut onto Main Street.  4 out of 5 stars  :)  "

King John took some video of the Sunday's DHA meeting.  Be sure to with the part with Farmer Bob. He even gets a comment in about the Community Council.  And SaveDunwoody, why are you not protesting this curb cut?

a screenshot from Kayak (the curb cut amenity is not really there, just so you know)

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