West Chester hotel project sitting dormant will be finished next year, developer says

A construction site sign on a long-delayed, high profile hotel project is faded — but is now finally accurate — about a massive hotel coming soon to the border of West Chester and Liberty townships.

The long-anticipated Hyatt House hotel project, which was first announced in 2016 for the corner of Cox Road and Liberty Way near Interstate 75, is projected to open in spring of next year, according to the developer.

The last three years have seen the estimated $17 million hotel initially constructed with most of its exterior work completed but then dormant.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, which then historically disrupted supply chains and financing — some challenges which remain ongoing — for many projects throughout the nation, saw the project’s momentum stall.

The 156-room, extended-stay hotel, however, is still coming to one of Butler County’s busiest and booming intersections, said Tahera Jaffer, managing partner of Ark Investment Partner, sponsor of the project.

Jaffer said the new hotel “recently completed refinancing for the expanded project.”

Moreover, said Jaffer — who is the manager of HH Liberty Way, LLC the entity formed for the development — the COVID-19 delays were used to broaden the development.

“The development process utilized the Covid period when staff and materials were impacted to redesign and expand the scope of the development. The financing and approval have now been completed and the development is targeted for the Spring 2024 opening,” she said, adding April 15 is now the projected date to begin operations.

The booming I-75 Liberty interchange on the border of the two fast-growing townships was a natural choice for the extended stay hotel due to its proximity to many other existing and planned developments.

The hotel will be about a quarter of mile from Liberty Twp.’s $350 million, mixed use Liberty Center and caddy corner from the coming $139 million Freedom Pointe project anchored by the year-old Costco store, the first in Butler County, along with two nearby medical centers.

“We chose the location due to its characteristics as one of the most attractive retail, hospitality and healthcare-centered locations in southern Ohio,” Jaffer told the Journal-News.

West Chester Twp. officials are glad the project is again making progress and are looking forward to its completion, said Barb Wilson, spokeswoman for West Chester.

“The project is taking longer than the owners, the township and the community anticipated but we are hopeful it will get back on track and be completed,” said Wilson.

“The owners of the project were severely impacted by Covid and the lockdown on the hospitality industry. Their financing was disrupted and have been working ever since to secure financing to complete the project.”

“Their zoning permit is still valid. In fact, they had a public hearing with our zoning commission in November of last year to make slight changes to the ballroom layout. While not the easiest project, everyone is hopeful the project will be completed,” said Wilson.

The hotel sits on the West Chester side of its border with Liberty Twp. and both communities, said Joe Hinson, president and CEO of the West Chester Liberty Chamber Alliance, are expecting to benefit from additional hotel resources for the booming, southeastern portion of Butler County.

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 affected all industries financially around the world, including the hospitality industry,” said Hinson.

“The corner of Cox Road and Liberty Way is an ideal location for a Hyatt House, an extended stay hotel, just minutes from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Liberty Campus where its proton therapy center has on average patient stay of 28 days.”

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