Plans for the redevelopment of Worthington's Holiday Inn site have changed again, this time with a reduction in the scope of hotel rooms.
Witness Hospitality, the developer of the project, presented a new plan that included just one hotel to Worthington's municipal planning commission Oct. 12. The original plans unveiled in early 2016 included two hotels and mixed-use commercial space.
No decisions were made, but Witness CEO Ohm Patel and commission members said the purpose of adding the item to the agenda was to gather feedback on its new direction.
Patel said he hopes the 111-room hotel would be a Hampton Inn.
He said "multiple driving factors" contributed to the change in direction to one hotel, including "a lot of feedback," particularly on parking.
He said two hotels would have included far fewer parking spaces, which was unappealing to prospective commercial tenants.
"Our initial tactic was, 'Let's go for a bit of an Easton feel,' " Patel said. "But tenants came back and said, 'This isn't Easton.' "
Patel said Witness also looked at how many other hotels are being developed nearby, especially in Dublin and near Polaris; he said a "flooded market" meant two hotels made less sense.
According to Patel, the price of the rooms would increase from an average rate of $68 at the Holiday Inn to $120 at the planned Hampton Inn, which he said would cater to a "boutique client."
The new plan also expands the development's entrance on West Wilson Bridge Road, which Worthington planning coordinator Lynda Bitar said she hopes "becomes the main entrance" rather than a second entrance on Caren Avenue.
Regardless, municipal planning commission chairman Mikel Coulter said plans would not move forward until a traffic study is completed, which will tell city officials how the development would affect traffic flow in the congested area.
Patel said a start date still is "a good question" and he would like to have plans entirely approved by April or May 2018. He said he wants to break ground on construction in August or September.