Business Development News

Garfield Suites Hotel To Be Converted Into 153-Unit Apartment Tower

Owners of the Garfield Suites Hotel in downtown Cincinnati announced that they will convert the 16-story tower into residential apartment units over the next year.

Garfield Suites HotelLate on Friday afternoon the owner of Garfield Suites Hotel announced that the 34-year-old building would be converted back into apartments over the next year.

The news is tremendously positive for the center city’s residential and hospitality markets, both of which are experiencing their own transformations.

The 153-room hotel is one of the more dated in the marketplace, and it is facing increasing competition from new hotel operators at all price points. Such movements are forcing the hands of existing hotel owners to either make big investments to upgrade their facilities, close down or change uses. Removing these rooms from the inventory will make the market stronger for those other operators.

At the same time, there is virtually no apartment availability in the 45202 zip code, which covers Downtown, Over-the-Rhine and Pendleton. The location of this 16-floor tower is ideally situated for new residents looking to be in the heart of both thriving districts, and will almost certainly lease up in a matter of months.

Aside from the purely business aspects, this is also good for the vibrancy of the central business district. While there have been many new residential developments in Over-the-Rhine and at The Banks, it has been more difficult to inject large numbers of new apartments or condos into areas like this due to its existing buildout.

This particular location is one that is rich with jobs, but still struggling to reach a critical mass of residents that will support full-time service retail functions. Adding a couple hundred residents to the mix will go a long way to supporting that goal.

The interesting item about this project is that it is the building’s location that motivated its owners to convert it from apartments into a hotel 25 years ago.

At that time, the proximity to Over-the-Rhine was seen as a detriment and Downtown was not the place we know today. Those dramatic changes that have taken place in both neighborhoods over the past decade are now what is motivating the current owner to switch operations again.

This is a great example of urban resiliency.

The total cost of the renovation has not yet been determined, but owners intend to begin work in early 2016. They say that the plan will be to gradually make renovations so that the hotel can continue to operate as the units are gradually converted.

The owners also told Tom Demeropolis, who broke the story for the Business Courier, that they are also hoping to lease the 10,000 square feet of existing street-level retail space that sit vacant along Vine Street.

By Randy A. Simes

Randy is an award-winning urban planner who founded UrbanCincy in May 2007. He grew up on Cincinnati’s west side in Covedale, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s nationally acclaimed School of Planning in June 2009. In addition to maintaining ownership and serving as the managing editor for UrbanCincy, Randy has worked professionally as a planning consultant throughout the United States, Korea and the Middle East. After brief stints in Atlanta and Chicago, he currently lives in the Daechi neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam district.