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Developers aim to have hotel open at The Banks in time for 2015 All-Star Game

| WCPO | by Lucy May

CINCINNATI -

Developers hope to open a new hotel at The Banks on Cincinnati’s central riverfront in time for the 2015 All-Star Game, they told WCPO Digital Thursday.

Executives with Atlanta-based Carter said they are targeting completion of a 200-room, select service hotel just across from the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in time for the game in July 2015.

“It’s a great aspirational goal to achieve,” said Scott Stringer, Carter’s executive vice president.

Stringer and Laura Swadel, a director at Carter, briefed WCPO Digital on The Banks progress Thursday morning during a stop in Cincinnati. Stringer said Carter and Dawson Company, the two Atlanta-based firms who are developing The Banks, are in negotiations with a hotel operator he declined to name.

While nothing has been finalized, the hotel would be 10 to 12 stories high, Swadel said. It will sit just south of Holy Grail Tavern & Grille, the first eatery to open at the riverfront development. They said it’s too early to provide cost estimates for the hotel project.

In order to open in July 2015, construction on the hotel would have to begin in 2014, Stringer said. The project would take about 14 months to complete, Swadel added.

Negotiations with a hotel operator are still underway, Swadel said, and the developers haven’t yet begun the series of approvals that would be required from the city.

This would mark the latest new hotel for the city. The 132-suite Residence Inn Cincinnati-Downtown on East Fourth Street opened in 2011. The 21c Museum Hotel opened in late November. The 156-room boutique hotel is just across from the Aronoff Center for the Arts downtown.

Developers also are working to build two hotels within the old Enquirer building on Vine Street downtown. And another development team is exploring conversion of the former School for the Creative and Performing Arts building in Pendleton to a hotel, too.

The new hotels complement all the city’s new restaurants, bars and nightclubs, said Dan Lincoln, CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“We have additional hotel product for the first time since 1984,” Lincoln said, and the bureau is working to attract convention business to help fill those rooms. “So far with all this growth, everyone’s been keeping up.”

A hotel has been part of the plan for The Banks’ first phase for years, and the site for the project is fenced off and ready to go when the time comes.

The Banks development now includes 300 apartments and retail spots for bars, restaurants and a Cincinnati Police Department outpost.

The retail space is 92 percent leased, and the apartments are fully leased with a waiting list, spokeswoman Libby Korosec said. The Yard House at The Banks is scheduled to open March 22, according to the company’s Web site.

Later this year, developers expect to break ground on the second phase of The Banks project. That will include another 300 apartments and additional street-level retail space in the area between the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and Paul Brown Stadium.

Carter and Dawson already have gotten approval for their plan from the city’s Urban Design Review Board, Swadel said.

That development is expected to take between 22 and 24 months to complete, she said. She declined to say how much that phase would cost.

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