Proposed hotel to have contemporary look

A rendering of a hotel proposed for 425 Meeting St.

A hotel first proposed for upper Meeting Street more than three years ago should begin to take shape by year's end, bringing a contemporary landmark to that end of the visitor district.

Tara Group, a Charlotte-based hospitality business, plans to build a five-story lodging at Meeting and Wolfe streets on land it purchased in 2006 for $2.5 million. This time, the group's proposal skirts the Burris Discount Beverages property that stalled its previous attempt when a tenant on the liquor store land refused to release its lease.

Jimmy Walker, partner with Charleston-based Schmitt Walker Architects, said the Wolfe Street side will follow a historic brick pattern that blends in with surrounding buildings, but the Meeting Street side will flaunt a glass tower that gives a window into the lobby.

The building rendering also includes a spire, which will display the brand name of the property -- yet undecided.

"It won't be a standard prototype, by any means," Walker said. "It will redevelop that section of Meeting Street, set the tone for the future."

The company's original plan called for 180 rooms plus nearly two dozen condominiums, a 2,600-square-foot restaurant and bar, almost 4,000 square feet of meeting space and 230 parking spaces.

The new proposal includes only 115 rooms and no residential or retail elements, plus valet parking in a garage underneath the property.

Walker said room prices should fall in the midrange.

Energy watch

Historic Charleston Foundation recently undertook earth-friendly initiatives at its main office at 40 East Bay St.

The means closing shutters on the west and south facades, setting the thermostat in the 74- to 79-degree range and turning off lights in unoccupied rooms. A sign on the front door will explain the project to the public. The HCF began the initiative with hopes of recruiting historic homeowners to do the same. It plans to compare August and September utility bills with those from last year and to develop guidelines for every season.

Separately, the Doubletree Guest Suites on Church Street recently earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star designation. That means the City Market-area hotel performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities across the country when it comes to energy efficiency. Buildings that qualify use an average of 35 percent less power and release 35 percent less carbon dioxide than their competition, according to Doubletree officials.

Reach Allyson Bird at 937-5594 or abird@postand