Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 10, 2013

Hotel, restaurant coming to Ironton

Construction on complex should be completed by summer

Mike James
The Independent

IRONTON — A long-awaited hotel development is about to start construction in Ironton.

Work on a Holiday Inn Express and Suites hotel and a Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant should begin in two or three weeks, Mayor Rich Blankenship said.

The hotel and restaurant will go up on a four-acre site on Ninth Street, just off the Park Avenue exit of U.S. 52. Earth-moving equipment is already at the site.

When complete, the hotel will have 79 units and an indoor pool, Blankenship said.

The hotel is being built by MPH Hotels of St. Petersburg, Fla., and the restaurant by local investors, he said.

The restaurant is expected to be completed by spring and the hotel by mid to late summer.

The project is taking place on a site that had been acquired by Old Engineer Property LLC, a partnership among the Ironton Port Authority, the Lawrence County Port Authority, the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization and the Lawrence Economic Development Corp. It included the site of the former Dennis J. Boll Group and Shelter Home, the former county engineer’s garage and some other properties.

The partnership holds two more adjacent acres it will offer to subsequent investors for shops, other restaurants and the like.

“This project has been talked about for many, many years. People have said for a long time that Ironton needs a hotel. In the six years I’ve been mayor, we’ve talked to six different hotel developers,” Blankenship said.

Blankenship expects the development to enhance Ironton’s economic standing. “Any time you put $14 or $15 million into the economy you’re going to see growth,” he said. He anticipates it will add 80 to 90 jobs and enhance surrounding property values.

Ironton does not have a hotel tax, but the jobs will bring income tax revenue, some of which will be channeled back into economic development efforts, he said.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.