Hotelier Richard Kessler joined Greenville Mayor Knox White and others Wednesday morning to break ground on the Grand Bohemian Hotel Greenville.
Kessler is chairman and CEO of The Kessler Collection, a hospitality brand that owns, develops and manages specialty hotels, restaurants and retail sites. The company is bringing at 187-room hotel and restaurant to the former site of the Wyche law firm overlooking Falls Park and the Reedy River.
Construction will take about 20 months, Kessler said.
Kessler said he was lured to Greenville by the mayor when they met at a presentation in Savannah. He said Falls Park was the third site his advance team showed him, and he knew right away he had to do something with it.
“I said this is the site. It’s got everything you could want. Beautiful views, beautiful water. You’re in a park,” he said. “I realized we had to up our game again and do something very special.”
Kessler said the topography reminded him of a mountain lodge setting, and with that in mind he sketched out the initial plans on a Delta Airlines napkin during his flight home.
“It is not a typical hotel site and we could not build a typical hotel on the site,” he said.
He said the hotel and two-story restaurant will engage guests in the outdoors and will approach the Reedy without encroaching on the river.
The Grand Bohemian Greenville will create about 200 new jobs, Kessler said.