The $17.5 million Workingmen’s Square Hotel has been eight years in the making.
The 96-unit hotel will be built on a vacant lot near the junction of East Ohio Street and Madison Avenue on the North Side.
It's a highly visible corner, said Mark Fatla, executive director of the Northside Leadership Conference.
"One hundred thousand cars a day go by this on I-279, [State Route] 28 and East Ohio Street," he said. "And what they see right now is the vacant Workingmen's Savings Bank Building ... and a bunch of vacant lots. And it's not the best introduction to the North Side."
The Northside Leadership Conference managed the project in its pre-development phase, as site assembly and financing progressed. The hotel will be a Comfort Inn by Choice Hotels property, operated by the owner of the North Side’s The Priory Hotel, The Priory Hospitality Group.
Fatla said the construction of the hotel will ultimately mean restoration of the neighboring historic bank building as a banquet and restaurant facility.
"This is an opportunity to really, at that entry point, show what North Side's all about: historic plus the new. And the opportunity for really great development coupled with working with neighborhoods," he said. "This site is emblematic of what's happening North Side-wide."
John Elash of October Development said when State Route 28 was built, it split up the neighborhood and hurt its vitality.
“By bringing back a street element and actually bringing retail and bringing people from outside of the area back into the area, it’s going to do wonders for the neighborhood.”
The project will reinfuse the community with energy not just with foot traffic, but with jobs, said Elash.
“We’ve worked with the community groups and we’re going to hire internally within the neighborhood first,” he said. “Our goal is to not bring in an outside influence without first looking inside."
The hotel is a catalyst, Elash said. He is working with seven other businesses that hope to open nearby.
The hotel will break ground in early 2018, and is expected to open in 2019.