Construction began Wednesday on the $9.2 million Hampton Inn & Suites at Lafayette and Main streets downtown.

The Greenville, S.C., developer said construction is expected to take 14 months for the seven-story, 137-room hotel, its first in Louisiana.

Forty-two of the guest rooms will have balconies and 36 will be suites. The hotel will have 1,000 square feet of meeting space, an executive boardroom, a business center and an exercise room, Windsor/Aughtry said.

Financing was provided by Wells Fargo, though the development received $3.2 million in funding via $17 million in federal new market tax credits obtained through the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority.

Windsor/Aughtry spokesman Bill Fayssoux said the hotel has a 20-year agreement with the state to provide 137 spaces — one for each room — in the nearby LaSalle parking garage.

He said it will be the company’s third hotel with a lease agreement with a municipality for parking and a good arrangement because state workers and hotel guests tend to have different schedules.

Local developer Richard Preis, who brought Windsor/Aughtry and the RDA together and took part in a three-way land swap that included Gordon LeBlanc and St. James Episcopal Church, said the hotel will pave the way for further development downtown, including his own long-delayed RiverPlace development across Lafayette Street.

Preis said he has commissioned a market study for development of the property, but he would not provide any details of what that development might entail.

Windsor/Aughtry said the “upscale, urban” look of the Hampton Inn hotel “fits in perfectly with the contemporary look and feel of downtown Baton Rouge.”

The hotel was designed by Bounds & Gillespie Architects and is being constructed by Pride Construction and decorated by Ann Stewart Company, all of Memphis.

Geotechnical engineering and civil engineering, however, were provided by Baton Rouge firms Terracon of Baton Rouge and SJB Group, respectively.

However, Windsor/Aughtry said the majority of subcontractors and labor will come from the local area.

Construction will employ 110 people total, though spokesman Richard Breen said it is not yet known how many will be local.

Once completed, the property will employ an estimated 50 full-time and 15 part-time workers, while creating 55 support service and vendor jobs.

The hotel will be managed by Hospitality America Inc., a Nashville, Tenn., hotel management firm.