By DAVID E. MALLOY
For HD Media
IRONTON - Construction has started on the new $16 million TownePlace Suites by Marriott hotel in Ironton, said Ralph Kline, executive director of the Ironton-Lawrence County Area Community Action Organization.
Owners of the hotel bought 15 parcels of property - some 1.71 acres total - on which the five-story hotel will sit for $885,000, according to property transfer records at the Lawrence County Courthouse.
While some site development work was done earlier, initial work will be done on storm drains and redesigning Washington Street. The 109-room hotel will front on Washington Street, Kline said.
"We're hoping it can be built within a year, subject to weather," said Bill Dingus, executive director of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation.
Financing was completed earlier this month. The hotel is being built between South 8th and 9th streets and Washington and Adams streets.
The hotel is part of the Gateway Center project along South 9th Street in Ironton, which includes a Holiday Inn Express, a Big Boy restaurant and the Armory Smokehouse restaurant at the former Ohio National Guard property. The smokehouse, which opened earlier this year, has an Amish bakery.
The Lawrence Economic Development Corporation is a one-third owner of the Marriott, Dingus said earlier.
The corporation also is among the developers of the Holiday Inn Express.
The Marriott is being designed for customers who want extended stays and will have full-size refrigerators and kitchenettes, Dingus said.
Local officials have secured community development block grant and Appalachian Regional Commission funding for street work, parking lots, lighting, utilities, a retaining wall and sidewalks, Kline said earlier.
When the Mariott project was announced last year, Mike Holtz, president of MPH Hotels, said the project will mean 36 permanent jobs and 100 to 200 construction jobs. The same firm oversaw construction of the Holiday Inn Express.