The Manchester Inn is an interesting project. You have a historically significant hotel in disrepair that didn’t make it in a former life as a hotel. So the question becomes, what do we do with it to preserve the history but make it viable? Our best answer was to effectively donate it to a developer with a vision. The only other option for the City was to demolish the structure and clear the land. If there was a chance to save and repurpose the hotel, it made sense to us to make every effort to try.
Mr. Grau is working with a hotel management group on developing the Manchester Inn as a hotel site. The first step in that process is to develop a business plan and feasibility study to determine what combination of rooms, renovations, etc., could be viable long term.
The plans for the hotel include a $12.7 million renovation and a $6.4 million investment in the Snider building next door to transform it into a 30 bbl Microbrewery with taproom.
Part of the feasibility of the project rests with attractive financing. Mr. Grau is reviewing options including historic tax credits, new market tax credits and loan options for green construction techniques. Part of the process to apply for and receive historic tax credits requires that the building plans be approved by the Ohio State Historical Preservation Office. Mr. Grau has been working with this group for several months to get to an agreed renovation that is both viable and retains the historical aspects of the building.
While the financing and design phases move forward, Mr. Grau is working with Otis and the State to gain compliance with existing elevators. A roofing contractor has made additional repairs on the roof to keep the water out of the building. Duke has changed the meters out in planning for renovations. A mowing contractor has been hired to keep the grounds clean during the summer growing season.
This is a project that will take months to plan, to obtain the best financing, and to design in a way that preserves the buildings while creating a viable, sustainable business moving forward. It’s worth the wait to see if we can get a viable, useful hotel that can stay in business downtown. To those who are frustrated… please be patient. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We are moving forward.