Three-and-a-half years after plans were announced, Westerville's Renaissance Marriott hotel is officially open.
The hotel held a grand-opening ceremony May 15 to commemorate its official launch, and members of a variety of city and community organizations were on hand to celebrate.
Excitement from city officials comes from the major need filled by the hotel at 409 Altair Parkway.
The Renaissance is Westerville's first "full-service" hotel to offer conference spaces, ballrooms and other facilities like the Renaissance.
Mayor Craig Treneff said the facility is a "culmination of a vision" years in the making.
"We have been woefully underserved in terms of hotel space and conference space for our entire existence," he said. "And now, not only do we have a full-service hotel, but we have a Renaissance hotel. We can jump directly to the top of the food chain."
The eight-story, 222-room building has been under construction since December 2015. It features seven stories of rooms, a full-service restaurant and bar and more than 15,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space.
The idea was a collaboration between Continental Real Estate partner Frank Kass and Concord Hospitality President and CEO Mark Laport.
And at the grand opening, hotel manager Scott Starek credited the two for their efforts.
"If it wasn't for the two of them coming together many years ago -- I think I've heard five years ago was when the conversations for this project -- obviously this building wouldn't be here," he said.
Janet Tressler-Davis, President and CEO of the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce, said she was "honored and thrilled" to have such a hotel in Westerville.
"We have not ever had (a hotel like) that in Westerville, so congratulations to our leaders and our city for the forethought they had with our land and (turning) it into a property like this," she said. "An eight-story building -- just amazing."
The "forethought" Tressler-Davis reference was the city's acquisition of the land on which the hotel sits.
That process began in 2014, when the city paid $6.38 million to purchase the tract from former owners Altair Realty Ltd. and North Westerville Ltd., both of which were incorporated by developer Jerome G. Solove.
Treneff also referenced what he called the city's "foresight" to acquire the land that has so drastically changed the scope of the city.
"This is a fabulous day for us, and it's a culmination of thinking about economic development and where the city needs to go," he said. "But for our city manager and economic development team, I don't know if we would be here."