CLEVELAND, Ohio – The owners of Tower at Erieview have announced that an upscale hotel concept will operate on the lower floors of the 529-foot building, adding another luxury option for travelers staying in downtown Cleveland while even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect business and leisure travel.
The owners of the East 12th Street office building – run by the Kassouf family, known to own multiple parking lots – have signed an agreement with Marriott International to operate a 210-room W hotel. The hotel will serve as the introduction of the W concept in Ohio and will be the brand’s 25th hotel in the United States
It will also be another luxury hotel option for business and leisure travelers, adding to the upscale rooms available at the Ritz-Carlton and the Metropolitan at The 9, both also operated by Marriott.
A press release announcing the new hotel says the W Cleveland will also have a 15,000 square foot ballroom, event center and conference space.
Above the hotel, the Kassouf’s renovation plans include the construction of 227 high-end apartments and more than 300,000 square feet of office space. They also plan to convert the 38th floor of the building into a fine dining restaurant, capitalizing on its view of the lake and its stature as the fourth tallest building in Cleveland and one of the tallest in Ohio.
He also plans to renovate the adjacent 130,000-square-foot Galleria into a “lifestyle center,” with a spa and gym, the statement said. A heated parking garage will go below.
The Kassouf aim to start renovations to the more than $ 90 million project early next year and complete them within 24 months, by early 2024.
“Cleveland is ready for this next level of luxury and entertainment. Our vision positions the property as a premier destination in Cleveland for visitors and residents of Cleveland, ”said Elias Kassouf, vice president of Erieview Tower LLC, in a statement.
Completed in 1964, the building was part of a master plan for the district designed by architect IM Pei. The building, designed by New York-based company Harrison and Abramovitz, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. A group of investors led by the Kassouf bought the ailing tower and adjacent Galleria in 2018 for 17, $ 7 million.
In August 2020, the Ohio Development Services Agency granted the renovation project a historic preservation tax credit of $ 5 million. Polkinghorn also said the project received historic federal tax credits. The owners also plan to claim additional tax credits from the state under a new program that provides funding for “transformational” projects, she said.
The question, however, is whether Cleveland is generating demand for hotels now or in a few years, especially as the pandemic continues to affect the number of people traveling for business and pleasure.
A downtown Cleveland Alliance report released in August found that 48% of hotel rooms in the city’s central business district were occupied between April and June of this year. That’s an improvement from the start of the pandemic, but much weaker than before the virus in the fourth quarter of 2019, when 78.8% of rooms were occupied.
The effect of the pandemic on the hospitality industry has created financial problems for hotel owners in the city. For example, the Westin Cleveland Downtown, a few blocks west of the Tower in Erieview, faces a foreclosure lawsuit.
David Sangree, president of Hotel & Leisure Advisors in Cleveland, said opening a hotel right now wouldn’t be the best business decision, but the number of business and leisure travelers is expected to increase as the number of coronavirus cases is steadily decreasing.
While the number of business travelers is never as high as before, with some companies choosing to conduct their business virtually rather than in person, the number of people attending events and just traveling could make a hotel. like the W Cleveland a hit.
Sangree cited the Erieview Tower near the Huntington Convention Center and the lakeside as a selling point.
“It depends on when they plan to open,” he said. “I hope that by then Covid is over and business travel has resumed.”
Elias Kassouf said in a statement that “there is a vacuum in the Cleveland market for a luxury hotel with destination amenities available, and we are confident all 210 rooms will be in demand. Both parties agreed that it fits our city perfectly.
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