CULLMAN, Ala. – The planned Cobblestone Hotel & Suites at 1835 Main Ave. SW in Cullman is now closer to reality. Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce Interim President Keith Varden welcomed guests to a symbolic “groundbreaking” ceremony Tuesday at Cullman City Hall, and ground clearing at the site has begun.
“Cobblestone Hotel & Suites is an exciting next step for Cullman,” Varden said. “It’s the first of its brand in Alabama and we’re super grateful (sic). It’s the first hotel in the downtown area. What this is going to do for us is tie in our industrial area but also the great growth in the addition of WildWater, of the new sports complex and the sports entertainment district that we’re creating. The need for this is great.”
Cobblestone Hotels President Jeremy Griesbach said of his first experience driving into Cullman, “We came in on the main corridor and took the exit by all of the hotels.”
Initially, Griesbach said, he didn’t see the need for an additional hotel after passing the numerous hotels lining Alabama Highway 157 near the interstate.
He continued, “But then we drove the five minutes to get downtown and drove around the area and met with (the Cullman Economic Development Agency’s) Susan (Eller) and Dale (Greer) and looked at things. I was like, ‘Wow! This really is almost two different communities when you look at it.’ You have the interstate area and then you come into what I’m going to call ‘Cullman proper’ and you guys definitely have two great things going on within one larger community. This makes all the sense in the world when you see your downtown area. (We) went out to your industrial park and came back and forth a couple of times.”
After getting the lay of the land and appreciating the sports and activities near the tentative site, along with Cullman’s new WildWater water park nearby, Griesbach said he saw the vision and put the wheels in motion to bring the hotel chain’s first Alabama location to Cullman.
Greer, a longtime proponent of teamwork, said, “In the city and county we share a lot of these taxes. We share sales tax. We share a workforce. We share all of those things working together.”
The 63-room hotel, an $8.8 million investment, is expected to employ at least 22 staff members and will include a Wissota Chophouse featuring premier steaks and local and regional craft beers. Construction is projected to take 12-15 months.
Headquartered in Wisconsin and founded in 2008, Cobblestone Hotels has locations in 29 states. Amenities at the new location will include refrigerators, microwaves, 24-hour Starbucks Coffee service, flat screen televisions, luxury linens, complimentary breakfast, guest laundry, an on-site convenience store, high-speed wireless internet, a fitness center and an outdoor pool.
In a previous statement, Griesbach said, “Cobblestone Hotels is very excited to break ground on the first Cobblestone Hotel and Wissota Chophouse in Alabama. The location near downtown Cullman positions us to be part of the community and will give our guests the opportunity to take advantage of all that downtown Cullman has to offer.”
Retail Specialists represents Cobblestone in its expansion in Alabama and other parts of the Southeast by identifying markets and specific locations within those markets. Retail Specialists was instrumental in locating the selected site and helped Cobblestone navigate incentives with the City of Cullman, according to a press release.
“We have a long history with Jeremy and the Cobblestone Hotels team,” said Jeff Rouzie, associate at Retail Specialists. “Breaking ground in Cullman is the first of many we’ll see in the Southeast. We have relationships with municipalities throughout the region and strive to help create a positive economic impact by increasing revenues through sales tax, hotel tax and jobs.”
Varden summed up the opportunity Tuesday, saying, “This project is a huge investment in our community that meets the needs for an ever-growing number of visitors to Cullman every day.”
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