A conceptual rendering of a 120-room Southern Living-branded hotel in Tuscaloosa, Alabama — Courtesy: Kennedy Funding
By Joshua Burd
Kennedy Funding has closed a $2.75 million loan that will help jumpstart a hotel development in one of Alabama’s largest cities.
The lender, which is based in Englewood Cliffs, said a borrower known as SLH Tuscaloosa LLC will use the proceeds toward the $5.5 million purchase of 38.7 acres of raw land in Tuscaloosa. The acquisition will pave the way for the construction of a 120-room Southern Living-branded hotel, along with 32 cottages available for individual sale along the Black Warrior River.
“The developer isn’t just building any old hotel — they are creating a world-class resort unlike any other in the Tuscaloosa area,” said Kevin Wolfer, Kennedy Funding’s CEO and president. “This campus will be a true destination for locals and visitors alike.”
To that end, plans for the 124,000-square-foot complex call for a restaurant and fourth-floor rooftop lounge called The Boat House, which was conceived by Birmingham, Alabama-based restaurateur Chris Hastings. The site also calls for a TopGolf Swing Suite, an event space for wine tastings and cooking tutorials and The Greater Southern Bakery and Coffee House café that features recipes from Southern Living Magazine.
Guests will also be able to access a wellness center with massage and facial therapy rooms, a nail salon, a blowout hair salon, exercise and yoga classes, a fitness center outfitted with Peloton equipment, a pool with hot tubs and men’s and women’s locker rooms.
Both Wolfer and Solomon Campbell of Chiron Securities LLC, the broker that represented SLH Tuscaloosa, noted that the transaction was complex.
“Hotel financing is challenging even in today’s lending environment, but Kennedy Funding provides a much-needed alternative to conventional sources,” Wolfer said. “We have the ability to close quickly on land — even when we are faced with major obstacles and time constraints.”
Located at the intersection of Rice Mine Road North and McFarlane Boulevard West, the future hotel site has roughly 2,678 feet of shoreline along the Black Warrior River, Kennedy Funding said. The river is a popular recreation destination in the greater Birmingham area, known for fishing, boating, tubing and paddle-boarding.
The site is also steps away from shops, restaurants and houses of worship and sits across the river from the University of Alabama campus, including Bryant-Denny Stadium.
“Whether for work, school or play, scores of people come in and out of Tuscaloosa every day,” Wolfer said. “This hotel will be the hottest new attraction in a town already filled with excitement.”