New 12-Story Hotel Approved by Downtown Commission
A proposal for a new 12-story hotel returned for review by the Downtown Commission this morning, with a few updates to the design and the details. Most notably, the hotel brand has been changed from a Hilton Garden Inn to a Canopy by Hilton, a newer luxury brand concept that caters to urban markets throughout the US. Under the new brand, the lobby would be designed with a contemporary feel that would put the bar, restaurant and cafe front and center.
Representatives from local developer Indus Hotels and architectural firm OHM Advisors stated that they still planned to demolish the existing two story building at 77 East Nationwide Boulevard that currently houses offices for HER Realtors.
The project has evolved quite a bit since its original presentation in January, which featured a north-south building alignment with a sidewalk and patio overhang. The current design replicates the original building on the bottom floors while positioning the hotel floors above to be flush with the neighboring buildings on each side.
Members of the Downtown Commission said that the project has come a long way, but other community members present at the meeting still had concerns. A representative from The Lofts Hotel next door expressed criticism about alley use behind the building and the possible queueing of cars spilling out onto Nationwide Boulevard. Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District (SID) Executive Director Cleve Ricksecker also expressed concerns.
“The SID and the private property owners in this area just made a substantial investment to make Nationwide Boulevard more pedestrian friendly, and we feel that this is a step in the wrong direction,” he said. “I just want to reiterate our ongoing concerns about the curb cut for this building.”
While additional concerns were brought up about the loss of parking meters and where the valet service at the new hotel would park guest cars, Downtown Commission Member Otto Beatty Jr. offered a different viewpoint.
“We can’t let these kinds of problems prevent us from getting these hotel rooms,” he stated. “Setting that kind of precedent scares me more than curb cut problems do.”
At the end of the meeting, the Commission voted to approve the project.
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