This was a pleasant surprise when I read the online Ithaca Journal today:
Hotel owner proposes second tower for Ithaca's Holiday Inn
Plan would provide more meeting space
5:31 PM, Oct. 7, 2011
Ithaca -- The owners of Holiday Inn Downtown Ithaca are seeking to add a second tower to their building in 2013.
David Hart, president and CEO of Hart Hotels, which owns the property, said the expansion would add only a few rooms to the total room count. The biggest gain would be updated facilities and more meeting space for conferences or other groups.
"It's no secret that hotels do really well on the weekends because of events that come out of the campuses," Hart said, "but our business levels, for us and everyone else, during the week are significantly less. That's mainly because we don't have a meeting facility in town" to attract groups during the week.
Deputy Director for Economic Development for the City of Ithaca Phyllisa DeSarno said the proposal is being welcomed by the city.
"We in the city are very pleased," DeSarno said. "The impact that this kind of new enhancement project at the Holiday Inn will bring the city is like a gift. A lot of places in the Northeast are begging for these kinds of projects."
DeSarno said she anticipates the center would bring an infusion of business to downtown. Hart has not yet formally approached the city, he said, but he expects to start the process within a few months. DeSarno noted that the project seems to be within existing zoning, simplifying the process.
Hart said the hotel was built in 1972 as a Ramada Inn, with the 10-story tower added in 1985. The three older wings of the building, which extend north, west and south of the tower, would be demolished to make way for the new tower, he said.
The hotel now has 180 rooms. After demolishing the older wings and adding the new, nine-story tower on the Clinton Street side of the building, the count would be only slightly higher at 192, but the rooms will be new, with modern amenities, Hart said.
On the north side of the building, Hart wants to add a new conference center and meeting space, and an expansion to the kitchen and a new ballroom. In the end, the hotel will have 12,000 square feet of meeting space, Hart said.
"We believe it's a great opportunity in downtown Ithaca to have a meeting or conference center," he said. "Having been in business in Ithaca for 20 years, we know where our soft spot is, and that's meetings during the week."
The new tower would also feature a rooftop entertainment area, which would overlook the city, Hart said.
The expansion would likely add 20 to 25 more jobs to the hotel, Hart said. Construction is estimated to begin in November 2012.
Here's the link:
Don't laugh at 9 stories, that's kinda tall for Ithaca.