Archived Story

Groundbreaking for hotel, Big Boy set

Published 12:11am Sunday, November 17, 2013

Phase I of Ironton’s Gateway Center will officially be underway on Tuesday.

A groundbreaking ceremony and reception is set for 1 p.m. at Ninth and Washington streets for the redevelopment effort that is part of the City of Ironton’s downtown revitalization plan. The plan also focuses on redeveloping the area around the city’s two key interchange entrances.

“The Gateway Center will utilize the ‘new town’ design, which focuses on green space amenities and streetscape infrastructure that makes a safe, pedestrian-friendly and pleasant atmosphere to welcome people while they visit businesses within the center,” Ralph Kline, assistant executive director of development and planning for the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, said. “Ironton historically has served as one of the first welcoming cities into the Midwest and that theme is being utilized to create a warm and friendly welcome into Ironton and Lawrence County today.”

Phase I encompasses four of the project’s eight-acre footprint and includes two businesses, a 79-room Holiday Inn and Suites and a Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant.

A press release states phase I is an investment of $11 million and that money is from both the public and private sectors.

“In addition to the investment being made by the owners of both the hotel and restaurant, the City of Ironton and Lawrence County Port Authority will be making an approximate $800,000 investment in public infrastructure for streets, sidewalks, utilities, and other associated improvements in the project area,” according to the release. “These improvements are being made possible by a $500,000 Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant and a $150,000 State Appalachian grant, both recently awarded by the State of Ohio.”

According to information provided by Mike Conner of Frisch’s, 100 workers will be hired at the company’s Gateway Center restaurant. These positions will be filled with the help of the Workforce Development Center in Ironton.

“We are thrilled to be back in Ironton after being away for may years,” Conner said in a press release. “We want to thank the people of Ironton for their support and demand for us to return.”

Another 25 jobs are being created by the Holiday Inn Express and Suites and include management, front desk, housekeeping, maintenance and breakfast positions.

“The new property in Ironton will feature a 24-hour fitness center, pool and complimentary breakfast,” Michael Holtz, president of MPH Hotels Inc., said in a press release. “More than $7 million will be invested to build this property and we are looking forward to the end result. Holiday Inn Express is a perfect fit for Ironton.”

Projected completion of phase I is summer of 2014.



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