Lucas County wants new hotel at old Hotel Seagate site

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TOLEDO – Back in May, 13abc reporter Bill Hormann broke the news that Lucas County had stopped demolition of the old Hotel Seagate.

Developers approached the county and wanted to see if they could use the shell.

Today Lucas County commissioners asked for some solid plans.

Just as the county was about to tear down this abandoned hotel…

Developers asked for time to consider using what was left.

That was 3-months ago.

Tuesday, county commissioners essentially asked developers to step up and make an offer.

Commissioner Pete Gerken said, “We’re putting it in play for the development community. We’re going to do it quickly.”

The county wants to ride the momentum in downtown development.

It’s quickly become an entertainment spot. But despite hosting 8-million tourists each year, most do not stay overnight.

Commissioner Carol Contrada says, “There’s a real lack of downtown hotel rooms so we want to be able to elevate our strengths.”

The convention center is one strength but there are only 300-hotel beds downtown and tourism groups say most conventions need at least twice that many close by.

Rich Nachazel with Destination Toledo says, “It seems the most appropriate use for a building connected next to the convention center.”

And consider the ripple effect.

Hotel guests need a place to eat, and the Durty Bird, which gets 25-precent of its business from convention visitors, sees opportunity.

Julie Ketterman is the GM at the restaurant. She says, “I would love to see that grow,” insisting more hotel beds means more opportunity to attract tourists.

And with more beds, more conventions and more tourists could mean more retail in the downtown area.

Kate Kelley with the Warehouse District Association says, “It would be a good amenity to have. We have a lack of storefront, street front retail.”

So you get a sense of how a hotel fits into the overall picture of attracting tourism dollars.

Developers have 30-days to submit their proposals.

Commissioners could make a final decision by the end of the year.