|By Robert Vitale, The Columbus Dispatch,
OhioMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
October 27, 2009 --Columbus is offering a 10-year tax break to developers who want to tear down the Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe and build a hotel near the Ohio State University campus.
City Council members gave their approval last night to a deal with a group led by Continental Real Estate, one of the owners of the restaurant building on Olentangy River Road.
The group wants to build a 134-room hotel at the site, which city development officials said will help make up for the loss of rooms and hotel-tax money from OSU's conversion of the former Lane Avenue Holiday Inn into student housing.<>Columbus will lose a bit of history, though, when the restaurant building is torn down. Although the Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe is barely a decade old, the building once housed the Jai Lai, a popular restaurant that was a favorite of Woody Hayes. >
The situation doesn't affect the Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe at Port Columbus, and it's unclear when the Olentangy River Road location will close.
Continental and its hotel partners will get a 10-year, 75 percent tax abatement. Deputy Development Director Mike Stevens said the hotel project represents a $13.6 million investment.
The Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe was put in receivership in February after it fell behind on its rent. The attorney for the receiver said this month that the restaurant is expected to move to another site after football season, although a new location hadn't been identified.
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