Developer Jim Manos hopes to have his Wesleyan Inn – a 43-room hotel at 235 W. William St. – open in time for Ohio Wesleyan University’s commencement in 2020.
Manos will add three stories to a house built in 1880 by Ohio Wesleyan University professor Hiram Perkins, and the hotel will have 43 parking spaces, city of Delaware documents show.
Also under the terms of the city’s approval, the developer will pay for a two-way left-turn lane on West William Street, east of an existing left-turn lane for Elizabeth Street, to separate traffic entering the hotel site from other westbound traffic.
“Sometime this summer we’ll get the thing underway,” Manos said, adding construction could start as early as July.
Working on the project, he said, are Manley Architecture Group, Columbus, and North Shore Construction and Development of Dayton and Cincinnati. He said North Shore is a new company, and its principals, Larry Hatfield and Rob Martin, have extensive experience in hotel development.
Manos declined to say how much the project is expected to cost.
Manos earlier said the Wesleyan Inn will be “a museum in addition to a hotel” and a destination for visitors.
He said he owns hundreds of pieces of original memorabilia from OWU and the Little Brown Jug harness race that he will place on display at the hotel.
He showed some of the items to Delaware City Council in November; among them were a 1948 Little Brown Jug champions trophy, an OWU sports uniform from 1910 and a copy of the sheet music used when OWU’s Selby Stadium was dedicated in 1927.
Council unanimously approved the hotel’s final development plan April 22.
Council member Lisa Keller said she met with the future hotel’s neighbors the preceding week, and they asked if Manos would be willing to add buffering and landscaping between the hotel and adjacent residences.
Neighbors also asked if the hotel would hold “large events where you have tents and music,” she said.
Manos said the hotel will have indoor entertainment and conference space, but no outdoor events are planned.
He said he will add “the biggest trees I can find” to increase the buffering. A 6-foot-high fence also is planned on the side of the hotel property facing residences.
Manos also said the hotel will have lighting fixtures designed to reduce light pollution and glare.
Manos’ original plan called for rezoning the adjacent 239 W. William St. for use as parking. Several council members objected to changing the residential zoning when council voted down that plan 4-3 in August.
By comparison, 235 W. William St. is zoned planned office institutional and required only a conditional-use permit to allow a hotel.
City documents show the board of zoning appeals approved a setback variance to accommodate parking in the final development plan. At one point, Manos had proposed ground-level parking under the addition, in effect making it four stories.
Manos told the city the house at 239 W. William will be removed.
Among his other projects in the city, Manos is renovating the upper floors of 30 N. Sandusky St. to add six apartments and is adding another apartment above 10 W. William St. He declined to identify the cost of those projects and the potential rents of the finished apartments.
“There’s a lot of opportunity in Delaware,” he said. “I think the last couple of years, in my opinion, the downtown corridor has been incredible as far as the growth.”