|By Betsy Scott, The News-Herald,
Willoughby, OhioMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 01, 2011--A Holiday Inn project is planned in a busy area of Mentor.
The city Planning Commission on Thursday will consider a proposal to re-image the Comfort Inn hotel building at 7701 Reynolds Road, just south of Route 2, and re-brand it to a Holiday Inn. The estimated $100,000 re-imaging work would include changes to roof lines and the covered entrance canopy.
"I'm thrilled," said Lake County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Bob Ulas. "Lake County desperately needs renovated and new hotels."
The property will continue to be owned by Alliance Hospitality.
"It's a more business-friendly brand, so it will increase our occupancy during the week, especially with all the businesses coming into Mentor," Comfort Inn Manager Jessica Gilbride said. "We do a lot of weddings as it is now. It will enhance what is going on the weekends, too, which means more money for the county and the city."
This is to be the first phase of the project, which will include interior renovations as well, architect Donald Weaver said.
"It's going to be re-imaged like the new Holiday Inn prototypes," he said. He said he couldn't release the rendering until all parties have given final approval.
If supported by the planning commission, work will begin as soon as a building permit can be obtained, Weaver said.
Ulas said Holiday Inn's central reservation system may help to steer more customers into the city, and the area stands to benefit from the chain's significant advertising campaign promoting its re-branding.
City officials also see the project as a potential boon.
"I think it's positive that the hotel is going to be branded with an internationally recognized chain," Mentor Economic Development Director Ronald M. Traub said. "One, certainly, of good quality, so I think it overall bodes well for the property and the city. ... This investment speaks to the viability of the market both as a recreational and business destination."
A couple of miles away on Route 20, a new business is proposed in the former Carpet and Tile Liquidators building at 7200 Mentor Ave. The applicants -- David Carlozzi and Thomas Ziska representing Cardiovascular Consultants -- wish to re-image the existing retail building for a medical office use.
The project also is on Thursday's planning commission agenda.
A medical use may fair better in the location than the previous business, Traub said, pointing to the podiatrist that moved into a nearby building vacated by Little Mountain Limited. That retail store relocated to a shopping center down the street.
"That is two fairly significant investments in medical uses, and those aren't quite as site sensitive," he said. "They don't need the traffic that a retailer does."
He added that it may help to attract other medical-related development to that area.
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