A newly renovated hotel is close to handing out key cards on the Charleston peninsula.

The former Best Western at 146 Lockwood Blvd. near the Septima P. Clark Parkway will reopen Jan. 8 as a new 143-room Holiday Inn Express Charleston Downtown after a multi-million-dollar renovation.

The eight-story lodging — part of Holiday Inn’s $1 billion relaunch announced in 2007 — will incorporate the hotel chain’s more contemporary image to increase quality and consistency of the franchise.

The hospital district lodging closed Aug. 1 to make way for the makeover. When it reopens, the hotel will be completely new.

Renovated rooms will feature new furniture, window treatments, flooring, 32-inch flat-panel TVs, granite countertops and walk-out balconies as well as an urban design scheme of blues and java-colored furnishings.

The hotel will offer free wireless Internet and breakfast and include a fitness center, outdoor pool and 24-hour business center. It will employ 37 workers.

Owned by a group of investors known as Charleston OPCO LLC, the hotel will be managed by Charlestowne Hotels, which operates numerous hotels in Charleston, the Grand Strand, Savannah and other areas.

“Holiday Inn Express is a great fit for that district, and we feel that the location and quality of the hotel will provide a great option for both business and leisure travelers,” said Michael Tall, president and chief operating officer of Charlestowne Hotels.

That section of the city also is getting another next year, when a 141-room waterfront Hilton Garden Inn opens at 33 Lockwood Drive, next to the Courtyard by Marriott. Augusta-based Blanchard & Calhoun Commercial is the developer of the Ashley River site.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.