A 63-room boutique hotel is coming to the heart of heart of East Liberty. The development will be a historic renovation of the five-story former YMCA building on Whitfield Street, behind the East Liberty Presbyterian Church.
East Liberty Development Inc. (ELDI) is the project developer, and was recently awarded an $800,000 federal grant from the Office of Community Services, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service.
Previously, attempts to convert the circa-1911 building into condominiums or apartments have stalled and failed. ELDI’s Nate Cunningham says the current historic renovation plan maximizes the use of the building, and will preserve many of its original functions.
Existing hotel-like rooms in the building’s upper floors will be expanded to create larger hotel rooms. The ground level will feature an 80-seat restaurant space, in addition to a 120-seat ballroom, and a 300-seat gymnasium. The gym will be available for larger evens including sit-down or musical events, Cunningham says.
The hotel will be operated by a national brand known for its commitment to transitional neighborhoods, with a strong cultural and arts focus.
This is the fifth OCS grant that ELDI has been awarded. Grant recipients are required to create a specified amount of jobs as part of the development, a certain number of which are to be reserved for low-income workers.
“It’s nice because it’s a recognition of the commitment we’ve had to making this a neighborhood for everyone,” Cunningham says.
One hundred fulltime jobs are expected to be created for the ongoing operations of the hotel, and restaurant and beverage components.
Cunningham hopes to begin construction on the project by the first quarter of 2013.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Nate Cunningham