County agrees to finance purchase and demolition of Millennium Hotel with hotel tax money

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CINCINNATI — The Millennium Hotel is all but cleared for demolition after the Hamilton County Convention Facilities Authority approved the use of hotel tax money to buy and tear down Downtown’s most vilified property.

But what will replace the Millennium is still up in the air.

The original proposal was to build a new hotel in its place at the corner of Fifth and Elm to serve the Duke Energy Convention Center across the street. But officials say they are also considering expanding the convention center into the Millennium space or splitting the space between a convention expansion and a new hotel.

The Millennium demolition itself could take more than a year, officials say, and once they decide what to build there and figure out how to pay for it, it could be several more years before it’s finished.

The Convention Facilities Authority controls the taxes collected for hotel stays in Hamilton County and voted Friday to use residual dollars to back up more than $50 million in bonds that The Port will issue for the purchase and demolition.

The next step requires the Port to close on the deal by Valentine’s Day.

City and county officials will be happy to see the Millennium go. They had been blaming the old hotel for the city’s failure to attract major conventions. Last year, Mayor John Cranley even called it “a terrible place to stay” and publicly vowed to try to put it out of business.

Last summer, a local developer reached a deal with the Millennium’s owner to buy the property and transfer the contract to The Port.

The Port then agreed to buy it in October.

Millennium management closed the hotel on New Year’s Eve.

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