July 3 is going to be a historic day for the city of Ashland.
This is the day the new Delta Hotel by Marriott will open for guests on Winchester Avenue downtown.
We are hard-pressed to find the words to put the importance of this event in perspective. The city of Ashland is in need of a top-notch hotel like this. As the economic revitalization of the city — and region — continues, the opening of the Delta Hotel by Marriott certainly represents a landmark moment for the municipality.
We are all familiar with the plans Braidy Industries has for its aluminum mill at EastPark Industrial Center. Braidy's headquarters are located downtown on Winchester, just a short walk away from the Delta. Braidy is expected to shepherd in a major amount of economic investment in the region from across the globe. Where will the people responsible for making these investments stay? At the Delta.
Just across the road from the Delta is the Paramount Arts Center. This is a spectacular artistic venue drawing in some of the nation's most prestigious musicians and performers. Where will they stay? At the Delta.
Developers Jim Nizzo and Andy Spiros purchased the property in September 2017 for $3.6 million. As readers of this newspaper know, the city taxpayer helped with construction cost and 1/4th of the total investment through a $4.5 million 20-year Tax Increment Financing, or TIF program. The ability of the city to recoup that tax money through the gathering of anticipated future revenue is of course not certain but it was absolutely worth the risk in our view. Without it the Delta would still be the old Ashland Plaza and the momentum being felt throughout the city regarding increased commerce in Ashland would be far more elusive.
It has not been an easy road for the developers in getting to the finish line. As we reported earlier this year, when remodeling commenced the developers soon found the infrastructure of the hotel was not as the original engineering plans indicated. The developers went over budget to make it all come to fruition -- this includes new plumbing, heating and air, etc.
The newly remodeled property will include 152 guest rooms, free high speed internet, hydration stations on every floor, a fitness center and an elite pantry for the Marriott Elite members.
There will also be one restaurant, two bars and a Starbucks. The bar on the first floor is shaped like a guitar. The restaurant is scheduled to offer a fine dining experience through Winchester Steak, Seafood and Bourbon Bar on the second floor.
“I think this is game changer for downtown Ashland,” said Ashland’s economic development director Chris Pullem. “If you look historically what has been the biggest deterrent for tourism and travel in downtown has been the deteriorating condition of the hotel.”
We agree. This is, in fact, a game changer.
We commend the developers, the municipality and everyone involved in making this dream for downtown Ashland a reality. We look forward to celebrating this historic day.