|By Larry P. Vellequette, The Blade,
Toledo, OhioMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 20, 2009--The owners of several inns in the region have proposed building a pair of adjacent hotels and a store strip on the site of the former Showcase Cinemas on Secor Road in Toledo.
The Toledo-Lucas County Plan Commission will consider on June 11 the proposal of Key Hotel and Property Management Inc., which is seeking approval to develop two 110-room hotels on the 13-acre site on Secor between Central and Sylvania avenues, near the I-475 interchange.
The hotels, one of which would be an 18,600-square-foot Hampton Inn & Suites, would be built to the east of the closed theater buildings on the northeast corner of the property, according to a site plan filed with the commission.
A second hotel, shown on the plan as identical to the proposed Hampton Inn, probably would carry another brand but be similar in size and built to that chain's specifications, said an architect connected with the project.
The site plan shows the former theater buildings would be demolished to make way for what is labeled "future retail development."
Steve Roumaya, of Key Hotel, which has applied for the site plan approval, could not be reached for comment yesterday. His firm owns other area hotels, including the Hampton Inn on Hagman Road near Alexis Road.
Toledo City Councilman Tom Waniewski will hold a public forum with neighbors on the proposed development at 6 p.m. tomorrow in the University of Toledo's Driscoll Center.
The abandoned theater complex and parking lot were built in 1964 and expanded a decade later. The two buildings later were split into five theaters to accommodate larger, more diverse movie audi-ences and offerings.
But owner National Amusements Inc., of Dedham, Mass., opted to close the facility, along with other holdings, in 2005 to concentrate its local operations into a new 16-theater complex inside Westfield Franklin Park mall.
The Secor site has been for sale since then, with an asking price of $7 million.
The plan is the first formal proposal for the site, but one other project was suggested after the theaters closed.
Then-Mayor-elect Carty Finkbeiner in 2005 proposed locating the Costco warehouse store at the site instead of in the Westgate Village Shopping Center. He contended the shopping center site was too small for the store, but it was built there anyway.
If the pending site plan is approved and the development goes forward, the two hotels would greatly increase the number of hotel rooms in the Westgate Village area.
Three hotels are within a quarter-mile of the former movie house: The Ramada Toledo Conference Center is immediately north of the proposed site and has more than 300 rooms, Comfort Inn, north of the Ramada, has 70 rooms, and the Red Roof Inn Toledo-University on Executive Parkway has 117 rooms.
Lucas County Administrator Michael Beazley said county hotel-motel tax revenue, like all other tax revenue streams, has fallen during the recession.
"In general, demand [for hotel room nights] is soft everyplace," Mr. Beazley said, citing a recent industry study that predicted a 15 percent decline in room nights for the Toledo area during the first quarter of 2009 compared with the same period last year.
But, Mr. Beazley said, "by the time it's built, the recession might be over."
Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6091.
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