LAURENS, S.C. (WSPA) — In 2019, city leaders began exploring the idea of creating a hotel in Laurens. Those plans came to a halt when the COVID-19 pandemic began. However, the need for lodging in the city continued.

“When we have hosted important guests in the city, we have to tell them that they have to go up the road to Simpsonville or down the road to Clinton,” explained Mayor Nathan Senn. “It’s embarrassing.”

The city restarted the discussions this year. City Administrator Eric Delgado requested proposals to turn the Truist Building on Main Street into a boutique hotel.

“I always thought that was a beautiful building,” said City Councilman Sara Latimore.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Gary Bailey unveiled a proposal to turn the building into Hotel Laurens.

“We want it to be a very beautiful space,” said Bailey.

Bailey explained the hotel would be made up of 38 rooms, including several suites, as well as a lobby, seating area and potentially a restaurant.

While the inside of the building would be renovated, Bailey said he does not plan on changing much of the outside to maintain the building’s charm.

“This would be really good for the city,” said Bailey. “We felt like the city would be better served having folks who lived here in our community develop the hotel.”

“It’s a tremendous asset from the city’s perspective,” added Senn.

Delgado said construction could start in 2023.