Developers aren't concerned about competition for a new 101-room Aloft Hotel by Starwood planned for the south side of Westerville.

Developers aren't concerned about competition for a new 101-room Aloft Hotel by Starwood planned for the south side of Westerville.

The hotel, which would sit on the former Knight's Inn site at 32 Heatherdown Drive, was discussed at Aug. 26 meeting of the Westerville Planning Commission.

Wayne Wellman, founder, CEO and president of CRM Companies, developer of the Aloft project, said he expects the hotel to coexist with the 224-room Renaissance Marriott Hotel and Conference Center planned as the centerpiece of the upcoming Westar Place development in north Westerville.

"I think they'll play off of each other," Wellman said. "You can't bring business in if business has nowhere to stay.

"The Renaissance will have convention space and convention areas, and they'll need overflow places with things to do and places to stay -- and we can be a complement to that."

Wellman said he appreciates the Heatherdown site's proximity to Interstate 270, and believes the past success of the Knight's Inn site is a good sign.

"We feel like the downtown of Westerville is an underserved market," he said. "With the bypass being so close to State Street, something was needed on that side of town with the corporate presence and (Otterbein) university and what we've seen in the medical mile. We felt like there was a need."

Economic Development Administrator Jason Bechtold said the city had no specific plans to keep the site as a hotel, but appreciated the investment CRM is willing to make, which he said could be about $15 million.

Westerville commissioned two separate studies to determine whether another hotel would be a good fit. According to Bechtold, more hotels are welcome.

"We have some great businesses in our community, so hotels drive on business activity during the week," Bechtold said. "So there is a capacity for hotels, and especially these two great hotels, in our community."

The hotel will be only the second Aloft brand in the area, along with a planned facility on Olentangy River Road near Ohio State University. Wellman said the Westerville site will be an excellent fit for the brand.

"It's very much a contemporary style with a lot of amenities and area rooms and things to do in the lobby that other hotels don't have," he said. "They gear for more to do in the lobby than in the rooms. ... We felt that fit the upscale clientele and use up there."