Friday, September 19, 2008

EDC to hear proposal for new Downtown hotel

An ordinance to rezone property at 720 Sycamore Street for a new hotel will be heard by Cincinnati City Council's Economic Development Committee next Tuesday.

The 0.60-acre Downtown property, currently owned by the American Red Cross, is zoned DD-C Downtown Development District, the only DD subdistrict that doesn't allow for hotels or commercial lodging.

Rolling Hills Properties, LLC has submitted a preliminary concept plan that seeks a change to PD Planned Development District (PD-55).

"It is the developer's/future owner's belief that there is a need for a new hotel in this area of downtown to help service the current business and tourist climate of the city in addition to the planned future growth within the downtown community," says Tony Tuttle of Bayer Becker, in a letter to City staff dated June 25, 2008. "Recently we have witnessed robust growth on both sides of the river, and we want to ensure that continued growth is led by the many different types of businesses and institutions within the Downtown Core of Cincinnati."

The new hotel would contain 13 stories (139 feet) - 8 floors containing around 200 guest rooms, and 5 floors containing the lobby and approximately 150 enclosed parking spaces.

The hotel would also include:

  • A top-floor restaurant and bar
  • A lobby lounge/cafĂ©
  • Meeting, conference, and banquet space
  • An indoor pool and spa
  • An exercise and fitness room
  • Flat-panel LCD televisions
  • Room service
The main pedestrian entrance will front on Eighth Street, and the building will have zero setback from both Eighth and Sycamore streets.

The City Planning Commission unanimously approved of the zone change on July 11.

Creation of PD-55 would allow the City Planning Commission to have greater control over the building's design and site elements, ensuring that it's compatible with the adjacent Cincinnati East Manufacturing and Warehouse Historic District.

Rolling Hills Properties has a purchase agreement with the American Red Cross that is contingent on the rezoning.

The current building will be demolished when the Cincinnati chapter of the American Red Cross moves to its new facility at Keystone Parke in Evanston, which is now in the design phase.

The developer plans to break ground in spring 2010, with construction lasting 18 months.

A hotel operator will be secured pending rezoning approval.