Developers and the city of Hillsboro are still moving forward with the Marriott hotel project, safety and service director Brianne Abbott told The Times-Gazette.
“We have been meeting with the developers pretty frequently. As you know, COVID has delayed pretty much everything, so they are also delayed. Some of their funding sources were shut down for a while, so that pushed them back,” Abbott said. “We’re just waiting on some cost estimates for some of the infrastructure that relates to the TIF [or tax increment financing] before we move forward, but as far as I know, the developers are still moving forward as quickly as they can considering all the pushback from COVID.
“I hate always blaming the coronavirus, but it has really just pushed everything back and made it difficult not only for the city but for these developers and everyone. As far as a timeline goes, we still don’t have anything secured.”
The multi-million dollar development will be situated on currently vacant land approaching the intersection of North West Street, SR 73 and Harry Sauner Road. At a developers’ meeting in late December, developers said they expected to break ground in spring 2020. Ankur Patel, one of the developers, estimated that the project will take 12 to 14 months to complete.
As of Dec. 20, Patel said the plans for the Marriott hotel included 83 rooms; a connected retail plaza is expected to cover 30,000 square feet and could comprise a bank, five or six restaurants, second-floor office space, and a sports bar, which Patel said would be similar to Buffalo Wild Wings and could include a dance floor.
Though Patel said he and other developers considered including known chains such as Panera Bread and Starbucks in the development, they also want to support local entrepreneurs.
Patel estimated that between the hotel and the retail plaza, the development will bring 100 jobs to Hillsboro.
Discussion of bringing a hotel to Hillsboro began in 2016, when then-mayor Drew Hastings announced he was having a feasibility study conducted to determine “whether our market will support a new hotel complex and thus encourage developer investment.”
In 2019, Hastings sought approval from the Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education so developers could move forward with a project that would bring the proposed four-story Marriott hotel to Hillsboro. Hastings said the developers approached the city in early 2018 to inquire about what he called “common incentives” typically offered by cities.
Hastings described TIF financing as a package a city would put together to help with the infrastructure on a project such as the construction of curbs, gutters, sewer, water runoffs, retention ponds, lighting and anything else “that has to do with the surface or subsurface of the project.”
In October, the Hillsboro Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the TIF compensation agreement with the city. Hillsboro City Schools Treasurer Ben Teeters said at that time that the agreement is for 25 years.
At a September school board meeting, Patel said that there is a need for a hotel in Hillsboro because people coming to the city to visit family or on business trips usually stay 30 or 40 miles away.
“We believe that there’s a big need for a hotel here, and it provides some economic growth as well to the city and the community in terms of tax revenues and having a tighter-knit product onto the face of the map,” Patel said. “The Marriott product will really bring something. People will see the city of Hillsboro has a lot of growth and development coming to it.”
In December, the Hillsboro City Council adopted an ordinance providing for the issuance of $3 million in bonds that will help get construction started on the hotel.
The bonds, Richard Spoor, an attorney from the Keating Muething & Klekamp law firm in Cincinnati, said at the December meeting, won’t be a liability of the city or citizens, but will instead be paid for by the property taxes produced by the development.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.