In The News

New hotel(s) eyed for West Chester

September 28, 2012  |  Hotels Union Centre Boulevard

Union Centre plan includes conference center

Jon Newberry, Staff Report—Business Courier

West Chester Township’s bustling Union Centre commercial district is in line for a new conference center and full-service hotel. And a second hotel might also be in the works.

The deals underscore just how attractive West Chester continues to be for commercial development. The area has by far the lowest vacancy rates of any in the Tri-State area.

At Muhlhauser and Allen roads, across from the mammoth IKEA store, a client of HiFive Development Services Inc. purchased a five-acre site. The company is identified in county property records only as FAE Holdings 413133R LLC.

Mike Halonen of Edge Real Estate Group brokered the $1.3 million sale for the seller. He said the buyer intends to develop a full-service hotel and conference center on the site.

A few hundred yards up the road, another hotel operator, Sterling Hospitality LLC of Richmond, Ind., purchased a three-acre parcel. Sterling has not publicly disclosed its plans.

A ‘stable base’

“You’ve got a nice stable base of Class A and Class B office, and you’re right on the cusp of a large industrial base,” said Greg Gillott, executive vice president of Neyer Commercial Real Estate, a Cincinnati brokerage firm. “With GE Aviation and AK Steel nearby, hotels make perfect sense.”

Peter Horton, vice president of business development for Dayton-based developer Miller-Valentine Group, echoed those sentiments.

“We’ve been hot on the area for a long time. The demographics are just off the charts.”

Even though there are not a lot of projects getting under way in today’s economy, deals can still get done with the right properties in the right locations, Halonen said.

John Moses, chief operating officer of HiFive, said the owner-operator of the hotel to be built at Muhlhauser and Allen didn’t want to discuss the project until its plans develop further over the next few weeks.

HiFive is a design-build construction and planning firm based in Mason. It built a 110-room Hilton Garden Inn in Deerfield Township in 2010 and a 90-room Wingate by Wyndham hotel off Tylersville Road in West Chester that includes a 400-seat conference center.

Just up the street from HiFive’s new site, Sterling Hospitality bought its three-acre parcel on Sept. 12 for $1.7 million. That property is at Muhlhauser and Schultze Road.

Zoning in place

Sterling’s address in Richmond is the same as a Best Western hotel operated by Kirit Patel and Soma Lodging Corp. Patel did not respond to a request for information about the West Chester property.

Both sites are zoned appropriately for hotel development, provided the developers meet design standards for the area, said West Chester spokeswoman Barb Wilson. The properties would not require zoning changes, but the owners or developers would have to submit plans and designs for approval, which they have not done, she said.

The property acquired by HiFive’s client is a triangular-shaped parcel that, aside from IKEA, is mostly surrounded by undeveloped land.

It’s several hundred yards south of the Sterling Hospitality site, which is surrounded by chain restaurants, Mercedes Benz of West Chester, Volvo of Cincinnati, an Indiana Wesleyan University center, and a Hampton Inn & Suites.

Nearby across Union Centre Boulevard are more hotels, including Marriott, Residence Inn, Courtyard, Comfort Inn & Suites, and Staybridge Suites hotels.