MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The historic Murphy House in downtown Montgomery has been home to the city's water and sewer board for decades, but that's about to change.
Thursday, city officials announced Ascent Hospitality has purchased the historic building with intentions of making it the city's first boutique hotel.
Mayor Todd Strange says the luxury boutique hotel, the third Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel, will boast 100 rooms and suites while offering dining and corporate meeting space and a rooftop bar.
"With supply climbing exponentially higher- especially within the past two years, our hotel demand in Montgomery remains steady and among the highest hotel occupancy rates in the state," Strange said. "The growing investment and interest from developers speaks to the overall health and vitality of our hospitality industry, while also indicative of the confidence businesses and investors hold in Montgomery's future,"
Autograph Montgomery is just the latest project in the area for Ascent Hospitality President and Co-founder John Tampa. The company also developed the Hampton Inn and Suites downtown, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Montgomery, and is in the process of renovating the old Bishop-Parker Warehouse building.
"This project is unique and competitive to the other projects due to the location and also the history of this building," Tampa explained.
The Murphy House was built in 1851 for wealthy cotton broker John Murphy. Facing the threat of destruction in 1970, the Montgomery Water Works worked with the Landmarks Foundation to save the building.
"The increase in hotels and our strong tourism industry is important not only for revenue creation but it affects overall quality of life for our residents," Strange said. "When visitors come and enjoy their stay here that means Montgomery achieves better brand awareness and attracts more events, conferences, and festivals, which then boosts our revenue to helps us pave more streets, add more public safety professionals or fund worthy programs for youth. Better brand awareness can also factor into a large company's decision to locate to the River Region,"
Construction on the property is expected to begin during the third or fourth quarter of 2018.
According to Strange, crews are still working on renovating the former Bishop Parker Warehouse and he expects the work to be complete by December. It is expected to open early 2019.
"You have to stick your head in to get up on the second or third floor you'll see it's almost all framed in," Strange said.
Also, work on the Kress building is expected to be finished by mid-April of this year.
The Montgomery Water Works will move its operations out of the building by May 1 and will transfer work to the interstate park business area, located off on Perry Hill Road. City officials say Alabama Power has installed a payment kiosk in their building should customers prefer to still make their payments downtown.