Cleveland Area Hotels are Digging the Local Landscape

David J. Sangree gave his thoughts on the local hotel market in Cleveland in a recently published Crain’s Cleveland Business article. 

PUBLISHED: April 2015

Suburban hotel development in Northeast Ohio, typically measured in one or two a year, is kicking into a much higher gear. 

More than 10 hotels are under construction or scheduled to start this spring in the region. Four of those are rising or are scheduled to go up this year in western Cleveland suburbs and Lorain County. Along with the just-completed Cambria Inn in Avon, they are the first new West Side hotels since the 1990s. 

Capturing resurgent business travel and growing leisure travel is the objective for this batch of inns, but the looming Republican National Convention in 2016 is giving developers an extra reason to push their projects through. 

Next to I-77 immediately north of Rockside Road in Independence, a line of trees in the devil strip of Rockside Place was recently cut down and tiny yellow flags put in to mark the site of a planned 121-suite Springhill Suites by Marriott. 

Ed Cury, the West Palm Beach, Fla.-based developer of the Springhill in Independence, said his project was planned to accommodate business travelers, but construction will be on a fast track to finish it by May 2016 so it’s ready for the GOP convention. 

“It might have been later, but we got our orders in and reached a number of milestones to have it ready before the RNC,” Cury said. “It’s great that it will be in Cleveland.” Cury’s project is going in on a portion of the excess parking at the Holiday Inn Rockside, whose Cincinnati-based owner, JAGI Cleveland, is his client for the Springhill Suites because they felt the market was ready for more rooms. 

Springhill has a contemporary design and other features to make it attractive to young business and professional travelers, Cury said. The Independence Springhill Suites will be Cleveland’s second, joining one in Solon.

Lending a hand

David Sangree, president of Lakewood-based Hotel & Leisure Advisors LLC, said a combination of factors has produced the flurry of new suburban hotel proposals. 

Nationally, hotel occupancy and revenue are up, Sangree said, which encourages hotel development. 

“The lending community is very much interested in lending for hotels again,” so developers see an opportunity, he said. 

Although suburban hotel development is up in the region, it is not as busy as some other regions which have stronger job growth. 

“In Cleveland, we really haven’t had much hotel development for a long time, so it looks like a lot,” Sangree said. 

New hotel flags also prime the pump for hotel development. 

“Every new hotel franchise is looking for a new site,” Sangree said. “Every franchise wants to have as many sites as possible so they can arrange to serve as wide a range of followers as possible. A new franchise will also tell developers what areas it wants to be in and award them franchises for specific sites, which helps them gain financing. Likewise, Springhill Suites is well known as a good brand so hotel real estate investment trusts and lenders are interested in backing them.” 

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