For Dean Haske, transforming the former Ramada Plaza on Sinclair Road into a U-Haul storage facility and store is more than just business. It's personal.
At the Northland Community Council development committee meeting last month, at which minor variances that will permit the renovation project to move forward were being considered, Haske said the project represents an opportunity for him to "leave something behind in my neighborhood."
The president of U-Haul Co. of Ohio Inc. spoke of growing up in the Salem Village neighborhood, of his parents living for years nearby on Sinclair Road and of a younger brother still residing on that street.
"It's a real pride thing for me, personally," Haske told committee members.
Haske, a 1971 graduate of Northland High School, went on to say he remembers the glory days of the neighborhood and of a flourishing U-Haul store in the area.
After 37 years with the company, Haske said remodeling the 208,000-square-foot hotel into a modern storage facility will be among the final acts of his career.
"I grew up in this neighborhood, so I'm excited to be part of the beautification efforts for this area," Haske told PR Newswire for a story on the property acquisition. "This building has been empty for more than two years. It's time someone put some love back into it."
During the development panel's Jan. 31 session, Dave Perry of David Perry Co., representing U-Haul, said his client was requesting rezoning of the 6.85-acre site from a commercial to light-manufacturing designation. Minor variances from landscaping, screening and parking setback regulations also are being sought, he said.
The self-storage operation is not expected to be open until sometime in 2019.
Perry described the renovation as a major project.
"The building's showing its age," he said. "It's been vacant for a number of years.
"They've hauled many, many Dumpsters of trash out."
Committee members voted 13-0 to recommend approval of the rezoning request and variances, but with some conditions, Chairman Dave Paul said.
* No long-term parking of unauthorized vehicles, including tractor-trailers, other than U-Haul trucks.
* No long-term storage of customer vehicles, boats or RVs.
* On-site sale of new or used vehicles is prohibited.
* No outside storage of materials is permitted.
* Bars as well as "adult entertainment establishment and an adult store" are prohibited.