Inspired by the unique character of the town where they went to school, four Terry grads have built a hotel as unique as Athens
Five years ago, when Hotel Indigo Athens opened its doors on the northern edge of Athens’ downtown core, the building’s unique shape, its modern-yet-retro décor, its downstairs music club, and its LEED Gold-certified materials served notice that this instantly popular boutique hotel would never be confused with a run of the mill, cookie-cutter chain.
“We cater to travelers who are, like Athens, typically affluent, unique, and out-of-the-box thinkers,” says General Manager Barry Rutherford (BBA ’79), who worked in national account sales and marketing at Coca Cola for 25 years. “We do this by highlighting aspects that both we and Athens take seriously: music, art, and sustainability.”
Rutherford is one of four Alpha Tau Omega fraternity brothers — and also Terry graduates — who invested in Hotel Indigo Athens. The other three are Rick Fine (AB ’81), Jim Price (BBA ’81), and Robert “Buzz” Law (BBA ’83). A fifth partner, Stephen Cooke has been thoroughly initiated as an honorary bulldog. Collectively, this five-man investment group constitutes Rialto Property Partners, which specializes in real estate acquisition and sustainable development.
Based in Atlanta, Rialto decided to build a non-traditional hotel in Athens for a simple reason: The partners wanted to.
“This hotel was not a have-to situation,” says Rutherford. “It was a want-to situation.”