WaterWalk leadership and local figures came together Monday morning for the grand opening of WaterWalk Atlanta on Barfield Road in Sandy Springs, an extended-stay hotel located within metro Atlanta’s Perimeter Center.
The 128-unit property is the first in the WaterWalk brand to debut in the state, expected to join other properties opening in the Southeast later this year in Jacksonville, Florida and Huntsville, Alabama.
“The opening of this property is monumental for WaterWalk as our first conversion,” said Jim Korroch, president of WaterWalk. “As the corporate and leisure travel industries continue to evolve, we are proud to innovate new ways to meet the needs of travelers looking for accommodations without sacrificing convenience and quality with the essential things that they need.”
Officially adapting the revised extended-stay model this year, WaterWalk Atlanta – Perimeter Center serves as the company’s third converted “Gen 2.0” property to open to the public, following builds in Phoenix, Arizona and Boise, Idaho.
WaterWalk’s CEO Mimi Oliver said in opening remarks that the revitalization of the company’s hospitality strategy serves as a continuation of the model established by her grandfather, Jack DeBoer, founder of the WaterWalk brand, as well as several other extended-stay namesakes.
“Jack was the inventor of the extended-stay segment when he created Residence Inn back in the 1980s. He went on to start four other successful and trailblazing brands, including Summerfield Suites, Candlewood Suites, Woodspring Suites, and now WaterWalk,” Oliver said. “We’re really proud of that legacy of trust in the hotel space, and are thrilled to bring it to the Atlanta community.”
WaterWalk’s leadership focuses on revitalizing already existing multifamily properties through the culmination of its second generation of extended-stay communities. The Atlanta hotel experienced a complete restoration, transforming the former Wyndham-managed Hawthorn Suites into another asset in the company’s conceptual evolution.
“This location in Sandy Springs underwent extensive interior and exterior modernizations to generate upscale amenities of our Generation 2 model, the first of which we opened in Phoenix not long ago,” Korroch said. “As our first of many planned conversion properties, this location allowed us to minimize construction time and costs in a fluctuating economic landscape, while providing us with location flexibility in a city that has little white space left for development.”
WaterWalk Atlanta comes equipped with furnished studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units spread across multiple buildings surrounded by parking and green space. The property also offers unfurnished one- and two-bedroom suites for long-term stays.
All units feature a full kitchen, an in-unit washer and dryer and a flat-screen television in common living areas. Shared public amenities include an outdoor pool, grilling area and fitness center.
Residents staying long-term are granted access to all utilities and amenities – including cable, internet, lawn and trash services and pest control – through the contribution of one monthly payment throughout the course of their stay.
Oliver said the company’s new generation of flexible-stay properties differs from models past, in the way it offers guests a living experience similar to that of a hotel rather than an apartment complex. Short- and long-term guests are integrated in this updated concept, and the company scrapped their three-bedroom floor plans in exchange for a studio layout. Oliver said the new design better accommodates the brand’s target demographic: those who frequently travel for work or prefer living arrangements free from the often inconvenient structure of a traditional rental lease.
“People are living with us, as well as staying with us,” Oliver said. “Our target demographic is anyone that’s looking for a true home away from home for an extended period of time.”
Oliver also said that the company hopes to expand its presence in metro Atlanta even further in the coming years.
“Atlanta is a very large market, so we’d love to get five or six more WaterWalks here over time,” she said.