Witcher plans to return to the committee in January with a formal plan, but presented an overview and renderings of a five-story, brick, 124-room hotel to sit at 101 E. Main, home to the former Steffen Ice Cream building.
A previous plan, by developer Alex Patel, called for incorporating some of the existing building into the new hotel. That plan was approved by the committee, but never came to fruition due to the financial difficulties.
While Witcher declined to name the new developer, he confirmed it is not Patel. He said he was seeking initial input so that he might work out some early concerns before a formal presentation in January.
Neither a budget nor possible room rates were revealed. When questioned about the additional costs of an all-brick building, Witcher said those costs could be offset by additional rooms. The original plan had about 97 rooms. By adding a fifth floor, he said the room count would be 124.
“We’ve gotten a higher yield by adding a fifth floor,” he said.
The plans showed a two-story atrium in the lobby on the corner of Oklahoma and Main, and a covered swimming pool in the back. Witcher said the owner is working with Don Karchmer, owner of the parking lot behind the site, to accommodate parking.
Despite the former plans failing, Witcher said Holiday Inn Express has remained committed to being the flag for the project.
“They seem positive about this,” he said. “We’re getting all our ducks in a row.”
Concerns from the committee were over minor details, but overall it was well received, even prompting Chairwoman Avis Scaramucci to call it “awesome.”
Witcher said he expects, with demolition of the existing building and constriction of the new hotel, it will take about 16 months from start to finish. He said the owner would like to start work early next year.