The liquidation-sale banners are signs that the redevelopment of Worthington's Holiday Inn site is underway.
The 232-room hotel is closed and all Holiday Inn branding has been removed from the building at 7007 N. High St., which is just south of Interstate 270 and has been open for more than four decades.
All items inside – from mattresses to podiums – are being auctioned Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. for up to a month, according to iclsales.com, the website for International Content Liquidations, the company overseeing the process.
Last spring, Worthington officials approved plans for the Village at Worthington Square, a redevelopment of the property at 7007 N. High St. by the owner, Witness Hospitality.
The mixed-use development, which Witness CEO Ohm Patel previously estimated at $32 million, is expected to include a 111-room, 4-story Hampton Inn & Suites, with up to five other buildings that will contain 15,000 to 19,000 square feet of office space and more than 20,000 square feet for restaurants and small service-oriented businesses.
Patel said the liquidation process should continue for a few more weeks.
But in the meantime, he said, representatives from Witness and the city have been discussing the process of rezoning the site to a planned urban district and agreeing on a tax-increment-financing deal.
"That's going to take us into November," Patel said.
A TIF is an economic-development mechanism available to local governments to finance public-infrastructure improvements and, in certain circumstances, residential rehabilitation, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency. A TIF locks in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation is approved, diverting the incremental revenue from traditional property-tax-collecting entities to designated uses, such as funding the necessary improvements or infrastructure to support a new development.
Patel said no action would be taken on the site until the rezoning and TIF plans are completed. The TIF agreement has not been finalized and would need to be approved by Worthington City Council after a public hearing.
"The city has charted out a timeline for us," he said. "If all goes well, by the end of November we should have all our approvals."
Lee Brown, Worthington's planning and development director, said city leaders were pleased with the pace of the project. He said it "seems to be matching up with the schedule" the city anticipated.
"It's mutually beneficial for everyone that as soon as we can get this going, we get it going," he said. "So I think we're all on same page there."
Patel said he would not expect any major work on the site before the very end of 2018, including demolition of the existing buildings.
"If we can get it done before Christmas, great," he said. "If not, it would be after the first of the year."
The goal, Patel said, is to finish the multiple phases of construction within two years. He said those plans are contingent on a variety of variables.
And whether that is the true timeline of the project, Brown said, city leaders are pleased to see movement on the project, which was announced in 2016 and has changed in scope a few times.
"It's been a long time coming, so it's good to see something happening," he said.