Former professional football player Karlos Dansby wants to build a $15 million, 156-room hotel on Noble Street, and he wants to do it soon.
“I’d like to have it finished in time for the World Games,” he said, referring to an athletic event scheduled for summer next year in Birmingham.
Invited by Councilman Ben Little, Dansby and Arizona developer Theodore Holloway on Wednesday visited a work session of the Anniston City Council. There, Little presented council members with drawings of a proposed hotel to be built at the corner of 12th and Noble streets, a city-owned lot where another developer’s plans to build a smaller hotel fell through in 2018.
Dansby and Holloway said they became familiar with the site through an acquaintance in the area and have been taking tours through Anniston in recent weeks.
Hollway said he’s the owner of a business called “The Ultimate Fan,” or TUF, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based business. Records available through the Arizona secretary of state’s office show it was formed last year.
The city in 2017 demolished a building at 12th and Noble known as the Model City Center to make room for a proposed 75-room hotel on the site. The plan collapsed in 2018, partly because of the arrest of one of the developers in Mississippi on a kidnapping charge unrelated to the hotel project. Since then, the site where some pre-construction digging was done has remained a hole on Noble Street. A section of the previous building’s foundation has proven to be an effective basin for rainwater. City officials in recent weeks had mentioned plans to find murals that could be used to cover the fence around the site.
Holloway said he’d studied data about the area — he cited parking capacity specifically — and concluded the site could support a 156-bed facilty. That’s twice the size of the hotel planned for the site by the earlier developers.
“Instead of looking at what the demand is today, I like to look at what the demand will be tomorrow,” he said.
Holloway and Dansby specifically mentioned the World Games, an event planned for June 2021 that would bring athletes to Birmingham for international championships in sports that aren’t now part of the Olympics, such as bowling and sumo. Birmingham officials have said they expect far more guests than Jefferson County hotels can accommodate.
Coordinating with the start of the World Games could mean a tight construction schedule for the project if the city agrees to move forward with it.
“That’s why we’re here,” Holloway said. “We want to move as fast as we can.”
The council didn’t act on the proposal Wednesday. It was brought up in a pre-meeting work session, and Little appeared to be the only councilman with detailed knowledge of the plan before that work session.
Councilman Jay Jenkins noted that developers of the earlier proposed hotel had plans to work with Best Western to build a hotel affiliated with that chain. He asked if Holloway and Dansby had similar plans. Holloway said he’d worked with Hilton and Marriott but also did independent development.
Dansby is perhaps best known as a linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals, and before that, a member of Auburn University’s football team.
It’s unclear when the hotel proposal will come before the council again. The next regular meeting is set for March 17.