Plans to construct a hotel on Spring Street in Delaware have once again been revived, and the city is working with Indus Hotels to ensure the project gets off the ground this time around.
On Monday, Delaware City Council approved an ordinance authorizing City Manager Tom Homan to enter into a lease agreement with Indus Delaware Hotel LLC for three parcels located at 7 and 27 Spring St. The parcels, as well as a fourth parcel across the street, were purchased at auction by the city for the minimum bid of $750,000 in 2020.
The lease agreement will allow Indus Hotels, a subsidiary of Hilton, to receive tax credits deemed essential to making the hotel project feasible through the Ohio Department of Development’s Transformational Mixed-Use Development (TMUD) program. Indus Hotels applied for the program last fall but was denied because it did not have control of the land.
A second round of the TMUD program opened last week, and Indus must apply for the program by July 8, necessitating a quick response from council.
Proposals for a hotel on Spring Street have gone through various stages dating back to the initial discussions in 2015, and Indus appeared on the verge of making those proposals a reality before the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately forced the company to abandon its plans.
Prior to Indus Hotels scrapping the proposal, renderings for a six-story, 118-room hotel were approved by the Delaware Historic Preservation Commission. The hotel was to be branded as a Tru by Hilton hotel, a relatively new brand that now has approximately 150 hotels around the country.
During Monday’s meeting, Economic Development Director Sean Hughes said the intention for the future hotel is for it to remain a Tru Hotel with a total of 126 rooms.
“This has been one of those ‘three steps forward, two steps back’ deals for years, it seems like,” Indus Hotels Vice President David Kozar said during Monday’s meeting. “And then COVID really derailed everything. We are ready to gear back into what we would call the development process and pick up where things left off before.
“We know that, financially, the tax credit is key. We’ve been working on the smaller pieces, but there are a lot of pieces that make this project move forward. Without the Transformational Mixed-Use Development credit, it really doesn’t happen. We really need that in place to get going.”
At the time of the city’s land purchase, the city said the parcels would be part of efforts to attract redevelopment opportunities along the Spring Street and South Sandusky Street corridors. “The purchase allows the city to move forward to put the parcels back into productive use and provide something that will help keep downtown Delaware moving forward,” Hughes said in 2020.
Homan said of the project, “Just in terms of the Transformational Mixed-Use credit, this would be a transformational project for Spring Street. This allows for the revitalization of Spring Street. I know we already have a good retailer on that street, and we’ve been waiting patiently for other development. This would, I think, be an incredible catalyst for that redevelopment.”
Kozar said he hopes to hear of approval for the credit within three to four months of filing the application, which will then “kick into gear” many of the processes of developing the site.
In a memorandum to Homan that highlighted the importance of the TMUD credit, Hughes said the lease agreement would also allow both parties to work on finalizing the site preparation, parking arrangements, and plan approvals with the intent of starting construction sometime in 2024.