YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- NYO Property Group LLC anticipates opening its new downtown hotel by summer or fall 2016, following a 16-month “extensive renovation” beginning in the first half of 2015, a company spokesman says.
Reached via email Tuesday, Dominic C. Marchionda, NYO’s director of operations and strategic planning, said his company is “close to a decision and aims to make a final selection to partner with an experienced operator” by Aug. 1.
The Business Journal first reported in March 2013 on NYO’s plans to develop the downtown property as a hotel. The Ohio Development Services Agency announced Tuesday it awarded $5 million in Historic Preservation Tax Credits to support NYO’s $25 million project to convert the historic Stambaugh Building downtown into a 120-room hotel (READ STORY).
The Stambaugh project was one of two area initiatives awarded the tax credits under the state program Tuesday. A $1.3 million tax credit also was awarded to support converting buildings on the Ogilvie block in East Liverpool into space to be utilized by the New Castle School of Trades (READ STORY).
Awarding of the state tax credits was “the catalytic first step” toward finalizing the project’s predevelopment and planning phase, Marchionda said. NYO is working with local regional lenders to secure financing for the project, he said.
“Historic preservation and adaptive reuse projects typically require a multilayered financing structure, which NYO is experienced in completing,” Marchionda explained. Financing for the project should be solidified over the next three to six months, he said.
Market studies commissioned by NYO have identified the need for a hotel downtown, due to demand from institutions including Youngstown State University, the Covelli Centre and the Youngstown Business Incubator, Marchionda said. The market will support a 120-room hotel along with auxiliary hotel uses such as an exercise room, banquet hall, conference space, restaurant and lounge.
Marchionda described the building’s sole tenant, Warehouse 50, a bar and restaurant, as “a great tenant that provides entertainment for YSU students and all patrons” downtown, and NYO “is committed to the existing lease,” which doesn’t interfere with the project’s timeline.
Downtown stakeholders greeted the much-anticipated news that NYO’s hotel project is moving forward.
“Downtown is now a place that businesses and people want to be,” said Mayor John McNally. Institutions such as YSU, local medical institutions and Vallourec Star are “always looking for closer places for their guests to stay,” he remarked. “We hear it from families who are planning reunions that they’re looking for a place to stay in Youngstown as opposed to out in the suburbs.”
Having a downtown hotel “is just huge,” affirmed Barb Ewing, chief operating officer for the Youngstown Business Incubator, which frequently has out-of-town visitors. “With the traffic that America Makes is generating, often for multiple-day stays, to have the convenience of a downtown hotel, with the restaurants, the nightlife that we have going on down here, it’s a big plus.”
Sarah Boyarko, vice president, of economic development, North America, for the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, agreed that having a downtown option for visitors to the region is a benefit. “A lot of companies want to be within walking distance so they don’t have to get into a car and drive to a restaurant,’ she said. Downtown also provides various entertainment options within walking distance for visitors, such as performances at the DeYor Performing Arts Center. “Companies look for that convenience when they’re traveling,” she added.
“To say we’re excited is an understatement. We have wanted a hotel within walking distance of the Covelli Centre from day one,” remarked Eric Ryan, executive director of the Covelli Centre downtown. The hotel will help attract events that are “difficult to obtain” without a hotel nearby, he said.
“We hope to broaden our scope of events here at the arena,” Ryan added.
Richard Hahn, president of Keynote Media Group downtown and a member of the Downtown Business Alliance of Youngstown’s steering committee, likewise welcomed the news and praised NYO and the Marchionda family for their initiative.
Keynote has assisted with publicity for acts that have come to the Covelli Centre such as Cirque du Soleil, and frequently hears expressions of disbelief from those acts regarding the lack of a hotel near the performing venue.
“I think it will be a catalyst for growth,” Hahn said.
Copyright 2014 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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