COVINGTON – Topaz Hotel Group, a division of Starlight hotel Group LLC, has announced plans to build two flagship Marriott properties in the Covington Town Center development.

David Bernd, vice president of the Newton County Office of Economic Development, said Thursday in a release that Topaz Hotel Group will invest more than $32 million to build a six-story, 123-room Residence Inn and a six-story, 99-room Courtyard by Marriott at the Covington Town Center mixed-use development. Bernd said the two projects are expected to create more than 150 jobs.

Aziz and Muhammad Dhanani, managing members of the Topaz Hotel Group, will develop the 5.74-acre site in Covington Town Center.

“Our region’s last five years of unmatched economic development projects have proven key in attracting high-end hospitality assets,” said Bernd in a released statement. “The recent announcements of Lidl’s regional distribution center, Mytex, coupled with Three Ring Studios going on line this fall, and the formation of the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance with Takeda only have accelerated this high-end hospitality demand. Newton County’s Industrial Development Authority would like to thank the Topaz Hotel Group for believing in our vision and the strength of our region’s economy. This development is coming on the heels of the opening of the Holiday Inn Express and Suites, along with the soon to break ground Home2 Suites by Hilton by Royal Hotel Investments.”

Topaz and Starlight Hotels Groups are among the premier hotel developers within the Southeast, with Topaz Hotel Group LLC’s headquarters in Duluth.

“We are thrilled to bring the Marriott Brands to Covington with the upscale Courtyard by Marriott and Extended Stay Residence Inn by Marriott,” said Aziz Dhanani. “Muhammad, my partner, and I are extremely excited to be here in the city of Covington and Newton County.”

Engineering is in the final stages for the Residence Inn, with expected groundbreaking later this year. The groundbreaking for the Courtyard is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2021.

Covington Town Center, located off Alcovy Road near the intersection with City Pond Road, has been in planning and development since 2017. The development was initially planned as a commercial mixed-use complex that would include 78 acres for retail rentals, 264,000 square feet for office space, 770,470 square feet for retail and restaurants, 52,500 square feet for entertainment space such as a movie theater, 5.2 acres for two hotels, and 18.2 acres of green space. The Covington City Council decided in 2018 to allow the development of high-end multi-family housing as part of the mix.

The city has invested $1,130,000 in infrastructure costs with an anticipated remaining expense of $761,000 after reimbursement of nearly $400,000 for a traffic signal.

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I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

(1) comment


Adding extended stay motels to a new development is not a good idea. This presents safety and quality of life issues, as anyone who has ever been near an extended stay can attest to.

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