Here's an Update on the Plans for the New Downtown Hilton Hotel

The Hilton will be an integral part of Convention Center goings-on.
  • The Hilton will be an integral part of Convention Center goings-on.
We're entering "crunch time" in the Hilton hotel development schedule, according to Project Management Consultants lawyer Jeff Appelbaum, though presentations of final plans and costs to County Council and the public are still a month away. Construction continues unabated at the site on the corner of Ontario and Lakeside.

"They're incurring costs daily," Appelbaum says. That's coming up today because council began deliberating a plan to front the cash for construction (the intention would be to see those monies reimbursed through a particular set of bond issuances). The principal amount is set not to exceed $260 million.

Even as that conversation gets under way, though, the clock is ticking on County Council's requirement to read all ordinances three times. That leaves six weeks for public debate, though final numbers aren't expected until late April.

Councilman Dale Miller raised the issue that the developers are toying with the County Council's three-read requirement for any legislation. Other representatives agreed, though there was a general sense that little can be done about that now.

"We haven't seen plans. We haven't seen anything. Yet we're asked to continue to fund operations," Councilman Dave Greenspan says, reiterating Appelbaum's point that the project has already racked up $2 million. Greenspan been an outspoken critic of the county-funded hotel plan since its inception. He adds that there's still a chance for legislators to halt this project. Council President C. Ellen Connally contends that the government is at the point of no return.

Appelbaum tells Council that he'll gladly stop by again anytime between now and the final vote to further clarify anything.

Semi-relatedly, here's a bit of neat-o news: There are now plans to construct a bar - open to the public - at the top of the hotel.

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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