|By Marilyn Miller, The Akron Beacon
Journal, OhioMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Feb. 27, 2008 --The only remaining hotel in downtown Akron is for sale.
Employees of the Radisson Hotel Akron City Centre, owned by industrialist David Brennan, said managers told them on Monday that the hotel would be sold.
Brennan did not comment Tuesday, but previously has said the 274-room hotel has suffered from low occupancy for years, just as the Crowne Plaza at Quaker Square did.
The University of Akron paid $22.6 million last year for the 190-room Crowne Plaza and Quaker Square shopping and office complex. UA has already converted half of the rooms to student housing, though it is keeping 95 rooms as hotel rooms until November 2009.
The 18-story Radisson opened in 1971 as the Cascade Holiday Inn, but lost the Holiday Inn franchise in 1991 and became known as the Cascade Plaza Hotel.
Brennan and Akron attorney Anthony Manna and Jeff Reed, as B.M.R. Development Corp., bought the hotel in 1993 for $900,000, then closed it while they sought financing for renovations.
The hotel reopened three years later as the Ramada Plaza after a $9.6 million renovation. It has been a Radisson since 1998.
When the Quaker Square sale was announced in June, Brennan said a city estimate that put downtown hotel occupancies at well over 50 percent "are not true. They've never been true. I can assure you that neither hotel has enough business. Akron is not a destination city. We just aren't."
Asked whether he had been contacted by Value Place -- a new, Wichita, Kan., hotel chain that reportedly is looking to buy in Northeast Ohio -- Brennan said he had not.
One employee, an airport shuttle bus driver for the hotel, Ron Fusco, 72, of Stow, said he has been working for the hotel for the past two years.
"I worked at a machine shop for 46 years and it was always up for sale, so it doesn't necessarily mean everybody will be out of a job," Fusco said.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or 800-777-7232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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