Downtown hotel could be on the way for Lexington

Posted 12/1/23

Lexington could soon welcome a downtown hotel.

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Downtown hotel could be on the way for Lexington


Lexington could soon welcome a downtown hotel.

Developers are looking at bringing a Courtyard by Marriott to a vacant lot located at 116 E. Main St., immediately next to Bodhi Thai. The town previously posted that its Board of Appearance would review a proposal for the hotel Dec. 12, but Laurin Barnes, Lexington’s communications manager, confirmed that the meeting has been postponed until January.

Raj Champaneri is the chief development officer and COO for Lexington Hospitality. Per its website, the prolific hotel management and development company already manages the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at 325 W Main St. and the Quality Inn and Suites at 328 W Main St., just outside of downtown Lexington. The company also has multiple properties in downtown Columbia (an Aloft and a Holiday Inn) along with a Quality Inn and Suites in Aiken. 

Champaneri told the Chronicle that they are still working on the hotel's design and have not finalized their proposal to the town.

“We are still in early stages of the development.there are many moving components as we speak,” Champaneri told the Chronicle.

Town Council Member Gavin Smith told the Chronicle that the hotel would be a great thing for local commerce, adding that it being located on Main Street will support the town's restaurants and shops.

That said, he also noted the hotel would need to fit Main Street.

“It's very important to me and residents in the town to preserve the historic look and feel of our Main Street,” Smith said. “I want to make sure that a new build such as a new hotel compliments that rather than contributes to changing the look and feel of our Main Street.”

Residents have shared a variety of responses to the potential hotel, with some giving full-throated support, while others emphasized the need for a parking garage to be implemented downtown before or alongside the hotel or rejected the idea altogether.

“You would be surprised how bad we actually need more hotels in our area,” Brian Jones commented on Facebook. “They are all at full capacity Thursday to Sunday and most at full the other days.”

Pamela Willard Stowell supported Jones’ comment, saying she has had friends travel to the town for dance and cheer competitions and that the people brought in by these competitions need somewhere to stay.

Some residents expressed a different sentiment, with Ashley Wingard saying, “We don’t need this in that space” and adding that parking is already “horrendous” downtown and that the hotel would most likely be sharing parking with the Masonic Lodge.

“We need parking only, whether a flat lot or a garage,” Wingard commented.

Smith echoed that parking on Main Street is his biggest concern, sharing that the local businesses already face strain from people attending downtown events.

“I think that that's something that we have to take into consideration. "Is there adequate parking for the guests of that hotel to make sure that we're not putting any further strain on parking infrastructure downtown?’,” He said.

Marie Weathers said the hotel would be horrible and reminded residents that you “have all the ability to control what happens [in] your town. This is where it matters.”

She also expressed concern regarding the town's infrastructure. 

“Once again, build something the infrastructure can't support,” Weathers commented. “Upgrade the infrastructure and THEN develop. Oh wait... Naw.. we don't need no inferstrukure [sic].”

This is a developing story and will continue to be updated.

downtown lexington, main street hotel, columbia development, Raj Champaneri, midlands business


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