ASHTABULA — Welcome to the Hotel Ashtabula. Just a year later.
The six-story, 109-room former hotel is taking much longer than expected to renovate, City Manager Jim Timonere said at Monday night’s City Council meeting.
The manager asked council to extend the community reinvestment area tax incentive agreement with the owners of the old hotel, 4726 Main Ave., LLC., successor by merger to First Ashtabula Mining Co., and the Ashtabula Port Authority, to reflect an extension of the project completion date to March 1, 2014.
Council approved the extension of the agreement which allows for a 50 percent tax abatement for seven years on the hotel and the parking lot.
In November 2011, Jonathan Lee, president and CEO of Signature Health, signed a lease with the owners of the building. At the time, he hoped to move all of its Ashtabula offices into the former hotel within a year.
Construction began in August 2012, and passersby watched bulldozers removing top soil on the property just south of the old hotel and it wasn’t long before the parking lot and landscaping was complete.
The project’s total price tag is $4.1 million.
A quick overview of the project includes restoring the old ballroom and lobby, adding elevators, and installing 124 new windows.
Signature Health offers mental health services.
In other business:
• Timonere and President J.P. Ducro IV said they hope to pave Main Avenue this summer, but the city will not be able to remove the cement “dimples” to make way for more parking because of a lack of funds;
• The Walnut Beach restroom improvement project begins Wednesday, and is scheduled for completion June 1-15, and
• Council granted Timonere’s request for an ordinance authorizing him to apply for several state grants targeting the historic Ashtabula Harbor. He said he hasn’t picked the projects yet, but private investors have said they will help with matching funds needed to secure the grants.