Development groups at odds over hotel projects - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Development groups at odds over hotel projects

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Two mega-million dollar hotel projects neighboring each other on the west end of River Street are at odds over building heights.  

A lot of money is invested in both projects, as well as bragging rights into who will be the first to break ground and resurrect West River Street and bring it to life.

One problem? One hotel is scared that if the other hotel's buildings are too high, then it will ruin the view and cost them money.

In one corner is the Rockbridge Development team who said they've worked the last three years to transform the Best Western property at MLK and Williamson Street and Montgomery Street into a multi-million dollar hotel complex.

In the other corner is Richard Kessler and the Kessler Collection, who entered the game after Rockbridge, but they made a bigger splash with a bigger project and got the city council's attention first with huge plans for the old Georgia Power buildings on River Street's west end, including a hotel, restaurant, park, 400 parking spaces and more along the river.

Rockbridge Development claims Kessler was getting preferential treatment, which he found funny.

"It's very funny," said Kessler. "They has a six story building approved. They went back and asked for an additional story, which they can. They got it. They got a six story building facing the peer plant. We are asking for buildings lower than what they have."

Kessler's text ammendment for height changes to his hotel buildings passed by a vote of seven to two.

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