RIDGELAND — Heritage Hospitality Group will finally be able to move forward with a hotel project that has been in the works for nearly a year now — albeit at a smaller scale than originally proposed.

The Mayor and Board of Aldermen approved plans for HHG to build two hotels instead of three, a Tru by Hilton and a Holiday Inn Express, both of which will be located on West Ridgeland Avenue.

The vote was a unanimous 6-0 with Ward 3 Alderman Kevin Holder absent to approve the site plan.

The motion made by Ward 1 Alderman Ken Heard included stipulations that the developers file a covenant document with the city prior to issuance of a work permit for the site and get final approval from the city on details including the sidewalk, site furnishings, including benches and trash receptacles, site lighting fixtures, signage and any other architectural modifications made to the design.

“First of all I want to say that I really appreciate (the developers) willingness to work with us. I think we are in a much better place than when we started,” Heard said.

Community Development Director Alan Hart said that his department is currently working with HHG to “hammer out some finer details.”

“I am confident we have the bones in place to make the rest of these details work,” Hart said Tuesday evening.

The original project included a Holiday Inn as well and was expected to cost $30 million. Through meetings with various city officials, Heritage Hospitality Group agreed to make significant alterations to their original plans, including nixing the Holiday Inn entirely, as well as seeking relief from a 180 day hotel and motel construction moratorium in mid-July that was then in place. At the time they said they were already $3 million into the project.

An attorney representing HHG said that they have “done everything that had been asked of them.” He said that it was unusual for the Holiday Inn to eliminate a proposed flagship product, but said they were able to comply. They have brought the total room count down from 280 to 208 and also made rearrangements in the site plan to better accommodate future development.

“We want to comply. We believe we have a good product and our company is headquartered in Ridgeland and we ask that you allow us to proceed,” he said.

Todd Reeves, Chico Patel and Ali Bhatti with HHG, who have been vocal advocates for their development and against the moratorium, were present at the work session Monday and board meeting Tuesday evening.

“Our development team worked closely with city officials over the last several months to develop a project that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. We are excited to proceed with this project full speed ahead and deliver what we believe will be a great addition to the city of Ridgeland,” Bhatti said Wednesday.

Later on Tuesday evening, Ward 6 Alderman Wesley Hamlin introduced a motion to reinstate the hotel and motel construction moratorium for another 180 days.

Ward 2 Alderman Chuck Gautier recused himself from both discussion and voting. After no discussion the item passed 5-0.

The hotels approved Tuesday evening and proposed hotels in the Township will not be affected by the ban.

“The hotels approved last night and the proposed Hotels in the Township are not subject to moratorium and the Community Development Department has no applications on file for any future hotels,” Hart said on Wednesday.

Hamlin said that during the new moratorium they hoped to continue to study the situation.

“The purpose is to study where we are with hotels currently and to ensure that future developments are up to our high standards,” Hamlin said on Wednesday. “Within the life of this moratorium, Community Development is supposed to come up with a zoning ordinance amendment that would zone hotels under conditional use.”

Hart added, “Any amendments would be subject to advertisement and a public hearing. The interest in amendments is to add regulations that provide better protection for the city.”