VOICES: New hotel in downtown Hamilton will make the city proud

Editor’s Note: This contributed column is part of an ongoing series that began on Sunday, Aug. 14.

I remember the day when I found out the Anthony Wayne building was potentially available for purchase. I had been touring Hamilton looking for hotel locations, but nothing seemed quite right. There were dozens of old buildings, but not many were suited to be converted into a hotel.

I needed the right location, the right size; a building that had some “wow factor” that would get a hotel partner interested in Hamilton. I was invited to tour a building in downtown that I quickly fell in love with only to be told that the owners would never sell.

I started thinking that maybe it wasn’t the right time for a hotel. But my gut, along with all the industry reports and buzz going on in Hamilton, told me that it was the right time for a new hotel in Hamilton.

Then I got word that the owners of the Anthony Wayne building were contemplating a sale. They had just purchased the building about a year before and were in over their heads. The owners bought the building site unseen and weren’t aware of all the challenges that came with the beautiful old building.

The biggest challenge with the Anthony Wayne building was that it had suffered from years of deferred maintenance. Challenges aside, the building was in the right location, it had great bones and it was built as a hotel 100 years ago. After a few phone calls, we had a deal to purchase. I had City support, interest from a hotel partner and a lot of work to do.

In my 20-year career of developing, managing and investing in real estate, I have seen few places with the attractive vibrancy that is present in Hamilton right now. Our first project in Hamilton, the apartments and Billy Yanks restaurant in the Hammerle Building, has been a huge success and we intend to build on that success with future projects.

As Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce President Dan Bates recently told the Journal News, “we need more hotels in downtown Hamilton.”

“From an economic development standpoint, that corner of the city is really underutilized,” Bates told the paper. “I think this opens the opportunity to make that a hub. I think it’s all positive.”

Almost a year after making the deal to purchase the building, we’re gearing up to start construction. The project will be called The Well House Hotel, a Tapestry Collection by Hilton. It will offer amenities such as an exercise room, breakfast area and small conference center along with views of the river, downtown and the surrounding historic neighborhoods.

Our prime location will offer exceptional walkability to businesses, restaurants, and gathering places throughout downtown Hamilton. In addition to being directly across the street from the Fitton Center For Creative Arts, we will be near the Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill and other attractions throughout the city and the region.

The 54-room hotel project will also be home to a 5,000-square foot high-end restaurant in the existing commercial space and will offer outdoor dining along High Street. The project will create a minimum of 30 new permanent jobs and more than 100 construction jobs during the redevelopment.

The redevelopment of the Anthony Wayne building into The Well House Hotel will be a project that the City of Hamilton can be immensely proud of. An historic building will be returned to its roots as a signature hotel as Hamilton continues to reinvent itself with quality projects that will spur additional reinvestment in the urban core.

Matt Olliges is the President of Vision Realty Group.

Housing affordability in the Miami Valley

Jessie Gooding

As rents continue to climb across the region and many local residents find themselves working in occupations that on average do not pay enough for them to afford modest rental units, affordable housing is becoming an increasingly important issue for our communities and communities across the nation. New housing and commercial developments are planned across our region and each one sparks heated debate among residents who will live near them, the developers of these projects and civic leaders who must balance the needs of existing residents with growing the local economy and attracting newcomers.

» Springfield and the entire country needs more housing, fast

» We need to be smart, responsible with our growth

» Plan provides multi-year roadmap for neighborhood solutions

» Displaced Anthony Wayne residents asking for a fair shot

» New hotel in downtown Hamilton will make the city proud

» Cost of redevelopment should not include displacing residents

» Regional approach required to tackle affordable housing

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