ELYRIA — A new hotel slated to open in a little more than a month is near completion and will aim to fill a hospitality gap in Elyria.
The Courtyard by Marriott Elyria, owned by Sunrise Hospitality, is a brand-new hotel built in the shadow of Elyria’s Midway Mall. Owned and operated by the same owners of the nearby Hampton Inn and Suites, the Courtyard is a 104-room, four-story hotel with an indoor swimming pool, spa, fitness center and conference room that has been in the works for some time.
Now that it is almost due to open, general manager Bob Van Bergen offered The Chronicle-Telegram a sneak peek and answered the question on so many minds: Why Elyria?
“Our ownership company, Sunrise Hospitality, is very familiar with Elyria. They already know this market and have been very successful in this market with the Hampton Inn,” he said during a hard-hat tour of the hotel for which crews are still working through a punch-list of finishing touches. “We believe we will be just as successful in this market. There will not be another Marriott-branded hotel in Lorain County besides the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Avon.”
Strategically located near the Ohio Turnpike, Interstate 90 and state Route 57, the hotel is on an 11.4-acre parcel Sunrise Hospitality purchased at auction in December 2012 for $290,000. Financing includes city of Elyria tax incentives totaling more than $1.5 million over 15 years including a Job Creation Opportunity Incentive and a Community Reinvestment Area tax abatement. At least 12 full-time jobs must be created as part of the incentive package.
Van Bergen said the hotel brings 40 jobs to the area, mostly in the service industry like housekeeping, maintenance, restaurant workers and front desk clerks.
The Courtyard will target business travelers and others who look for high-quality properties that are easily found. In an a time when room/home sharing operations like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway offer accommodations for vacationers, hotels are still a popular choice, Van Bergen said.
“Most companies have a hierarchy of budgets for travel expenses, so there is a definitely need for high-end and economy hotels,” he said. “We will be at the high-end for Lorain County.”
Annie Walbridge, director of sales, said she already is receiving calls for group meetings and weddings.
The Courtyard will open Aug. 30 and host a Business after Business event with the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce in September. Then, Van Bergen said the business community can see the hotel including the outdoor patio with fire pit, lobby featuring a restaurant called The Bistro that serves Starbucks coffee and 1,755-square-foot meeting room that can hold up to 90 guests.
The hotel fills a niche that he said was missing in the Midway Mall area.
In 2016, Mayor Holly Brinda commissioned Jeff Green, head of Jeff Green Partners, and the Hoffman Strategy Group to assess and create a redevelopment plan and conceptual site design for Midway Mall that could serve as a tool for development and a selling point to anyone willing to invest in the mall’s potential.
In the plan, Jerry Hoffman said the market needs another hotel — possibly an 80-room or similar-sized upper- to midscale brand hotel by 2020.