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Feb. 14--The redevelopment of the downtown Hotel Seagate and improvements to the adjacent SeaGate Convention Centre are moving along with construction possibly starting in April, said Pete Gerken, president of the Lucas County Commissioners.

"This project is on, it's real," he said. "We're looking at a completion deadline of fourth quarter of 2020 for the hotel," Mr. Gerken said Wednesday, a day after the commissioners opted to advertise for two positions associated with the projects -- an owner's representative for the convention center job and a construction manager for both the hotel and convention center projects.

In early December the county chose a new company, First Hospitality Group, Inc., of Chicago, to oversee development of the 19-story Hotel Seagate at 127 N. Summit St.. Citing timeline and contract contingencies concerns, the previous developer, Toledo-based Key Hotel & Property Management LLC , withdrew from the $30 million project in late October.

But in the 11 months it was the developer, Key obtained many permits and prepared the project for the upcoming construction phase, Mr. Gerken said.

"We are using some hotel plans we had earlier and we already have permits and basic stuff, so we're ready to go. Construction should start in the next quarter," he said.

Plans call for redeveloping the hotel first. Currently it is missing some walls because at one point it was in an early demolition phase.

Afterwards, work will begin on convention center improvements, then on a new ballroom for the center. Mr. Gerken said there will be overlap on the three projects.

The county is working on designs for the improvements and will provide its plans soon, but one big change coming is moving the entrance to the underground parking garage from Summit Street to Monroe Street.

"We think it will give us better access. The main entrance now is a bit of an awkward entrance," Mr. Gerken said. "This change will make it much easier to access the parking garage and it will also help with parking for Hensville and Fifth Third Field," he said.

Also in the next few weeks the county is expected to announce a formal contract between it and First Hospitality, which owns the Renaissance Hotel on Summit Street.

Currently, the county and First Hospitality have a signed memorandum of understanding regarding the project, but the two have been working on a contract outlining responsibilities and expectations.

Mr. Gerken said First Hospitality also has been working to secure a brand for the hotel, while the county has been taking proposals from construction companies to do the work for the two projects, which are to be done by the end of 2020. Combined the two projects will cost about $70 million.

"They're still working on the brand selection. They have several interested parties and in the next few weeks we should have a brand selection," Mr. Gerken said.

Plans called for turning the vacant and dilapidated 47-year-old hotel into a new 200-room hotel. To pay for the project, the county would finance the construction and renovation debt through short-term loans and by issuing long-term bonds.

The convention center would be altered to provide a ballroom of at least 15,000 to 20,000 square feet, something it has lacked to compete with similar venues in other cities. The center also would get a facelift, something it has not had since opening 30 years ago.

All of the projects are to be finished by the time Toledo and the Inverness Club host the 2021 Solheim Cup, which pits the best women golfers from the United States against their counterparts from Europe.

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