By Jeff Gallatin
Published July 2, 2008
officials are working on ways to develop more room at the inn on
Great Northern Boulevard.
Members of the administration and city law department
were given a recommendation by city council’s Building, Zoning and
Development committee to formally reclassify potential land use
of 13.59 acres of land west of Great Northern Boulevard near Interstate
480 for development of a hotel. Currently, the permitted usage is
for offices, but administration officials came to council after
BIW Properties about possible development of the land with a hotel.
The recommendation came at a June 24 BZD meeting after Robert Benjamin,
a BIW Properties vice president, made a presentation to the panel
on conceptual details of a possible hotel on the property.
“It would give us additional options,” said City Planning
Director Kim Wenger. “The land has been vacant for some time and
this is a use which would still fit within the area around it with
other business and the residential development around that particular
She said the property north of the land was to be
developed as a hotel originally but was ultimately sold to Moen
Inc., and developed into its building and offices on the land.
“We believe offices would still be a good use of the
other properties but also believe a hotel would be a good use for
it,” Wenger said.
Benjamin said BIW has developed other properties through
the years. She said the group got its efforts under way largely
under the direction of noted developer Bart Wolstein, with Iris
Wolstein now running the company.
In its current conception, Benjamin said BIW sees
the possible hotel on the property as about 140 rooms, with meeting
rooms and food facilities to go along with it.
“It could be used by businesses in the area or people
could come in from elsewhere and use the facilities,” he said.
It would be similar to other hotels in the Canton
or Aurora areas, he said.
Benjamin said the group has not been able to secure
any deals to date for developing the property as offices. He said
the group would like to retain the right to develop the property
as offices but said they believe it could be developed as a good
When asked by the committee if BIW would retain control
of the property if a hotel is developed or sell it, Benjamin said
the firm has done both successfully on other properties and could
do either here, depending on what appears to be the best course
of action. Benjamin said they wanted to approach the city and give
general concepts before proceeding further.
In endorsing having the city law department start
taking the steps to alter a court judgment to allow reclassification,
committee members said the plan as it stands should benefit the
Committee Chairman Paul Barker said it could be extremely
“It would enhance the area if it it’s done right,”
Barker said. “Adding a top facility to the area makes it even more
attractive to our city and people who come in and utilize it. In
addition to our city, it could benefit the entire Greater Cleveland
area by adding more hotel rooms. That means more people can come
into the entire area because there would be more room for them.”
Barker said he had one concern that he’ll watch as
the project proceeds.
“We want to make sure we get a hotel and not a motel
or motor type inn,” he said. “It’s a great location and we want
to make sure we utilize it properly.”
Michael Gareau Jr., a BZD committee member who also
chairs council’s finance committee, also saw pluses.
“It’s a great concept,” Gareau said. “It would benefit
the other businesses in the area and fit in well with Moen, Great
Northern Mall and the others.”
He said it also would bring in additional economic
benefits to the city in the form of business property and payroll
“With that location by (I) 480, it could do very well,”
Ward 4 Councilman Larry Orlowski checked on how it
would affects the residences in the area, with Benjamin saying they
have worked well with nearby homes and residents in other areas.