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McKey Hotel officially open in downtown Valdosta

Posted at 6:44 PM, May 25, 2023

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — The McKey hotel is more than 100 years old and has gone through multiple iterations. Now it's an upscale hotel bringing downtown Valdosta into a post pandemic resurgence.

Though the building isn't new it went through a historic renovation for the last two years. David DiSalvo, executive director of Visit Valdosta said the hotel is walking distance to several new businesses.

"We've had two brand new businesses open within the last year," DiSalvo said. "One being a wonderful wine bar and the other being a great opportunity to go indoor bowling and play indoor golf, and just have a great time."

Daniel Bayman, owner of the hotel, said the pandemic and inflation caused challenges.

"We were definitely over budget, and behind schedule but thankfully I had investors and supporters that were willing to be patient and wait for it to come to fruition. I feel like now it's going to show that it's going to pay off," said Bayman.

Even with delays the hotel is already getting reservations, a week before their booking website goes live.

"So far for the summer we're already at a 30 to 40% occupancy rate without our booking site being open," Bayman explained. "I'm looking forward to it, I think we're going to hit stabilization a little bit quicker than I thought we would."

DiSalvo expects the McKey to help drive business to downtown.

"The average traveler when they're spending a night in Valdosta spends on ancillary revenues well over $350," said DiSalvo. "So if you take that times the occupancy you get kind of a great economic impact."

The McKey is just the beginning of brighter days for Valdosta.

"We are growing and rebounding from some of the businesses we lost during Covid," said Bayman. "But the future is bright and I look forward to being apart of it."

Bayman says the purchase of the building was a way to capitalize on people trying to move away from bigger cities during the pandemic. He says he's excited to see how downtown development continues now that the McKey is open.

Even though the McKey is complete, construction in that area isn't totally gone. Right across the street from the McKey the Lowndes County Court House is currently under construction.