|By Jim Mackinnon, The Akron Beacon
Journal, OhioMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
A Wyndham hotel will be built on land directly across Martha Avenue from where the Goodyear Technical Center sits, executives from the Akron tire company and from developer Industrial Realty Group confirmed to the Beacon Journal.
Wyndham Worldwide Corp., based in Parsippany, N.J., offers branded hotels and motels for upscale, middle and low-priced segments, aimed at both consumers and business customers. Its upscale brands include Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Ramada and Wingate.
Goodyear wanted an upscale hotel within walking distance to its new global headquarters campus on Martha Avenue to make it easier for the company's large number of visitors to use.
Work is proceeding to finish the complicated paperwork on the overall project before any ground is broken. Goodyear will lease a new, $165 million global and North American Tire headquarters as part of the deal, while its current headquarters and other aging buildings along East Market Street and River Street will be sold to California-based IRG, renovated and reused as part of what is being called the Riverwalk Project.
The four-star hotel will include a top restaurant, said Debra Harrell, senior vice president for Industrial Realty Group.
"It's going to be one of the top tier Wyndham properties. We're very pleased about that, because it's quite a coup for Akron to get that," Harrell said.
The hotel could be expanded to as many as 150 rooms; it will be part of a significant retail development area planned as part of the large project.
"We may build another hotel five years down the road," Harrell said. Goodyear's overnight visitors typically now have to drive 12 miles to go to and from the current headquarters and where they are staying, she said.
The Wyndham hotel will be built as part of the first construction phase of the project, Harrell said.
"The first thing that will get done will be the new headquarters building," she said.
The Little Cuyahoga River that runs through the site will be cleaned and reclaimed so that it becomes a focal point for the development, she said.
"The need for conference rooms is huge, so the hotel will get used a lot," said Laura Thompson, Goodyear vice president for business development and an officer of the company. Thompson is spearheading the headquarters project for the company.
Goodyear sees the volume in Akron overnight stays increasing because of the new, nearby hotel, Thompson said.
"The convenience of it is huge for us to have it close by," she said. "We look at it as nothing but good."
While Goodyear's new buildings also will have conference rooms for daily use, the hotel will be able to host extended Goodyear-related meetings and provide meals, she said.
"We possibly could have our annual meeting there," Thompson said. "There's lots of things like that we'll use the hotel for."
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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