The current Holiday Inn in Ithaca Downtown will remain open while it is renovated, officials say.
The hotel is set to undergo extensive redevelopment, which will transform it from a Holiday Inn into an independent hotel complete with a 15,000 square feet conference center and a 10-story tower, according to David Hart, president of Hart Hotels.
The first part of the plan — which begins when the hotel’s current ten-year contract with Holiday Inn expires on Nov. 4. — includes general renovations to existing structures.
The second phase will include the construction of new structures.
City officials and Hart say the hotel will help revitalize Ithaca’s downtown area.
“This will be a facility that will change the hotel business in Tompkins County,” Hart said. “We feel that in our business positioning, we would work better as an independent hotel.”
The original plan for the building’s transition would have closed the hotel for six months for renovations, which Hart said was “was going to be a hardship for employees.”
“We’ve had people here for the 21 years the hotel has been open, and now they would be out of jobs for half a year,” Hart said.
According to Hart, the hotel now plans to remain open while interior renovations occur. The new conference center will begin construction in March, while the construction on the 10-story tower will begin in May.
“We’ve got a hundred rooms in low rise buildings that we’ll demolish and build the new conference center on top. The new tower will go on the area facing Clinton Street,” Hart said.
Taking the Cornell and Ithaca College academic calendar into account, Hart plans to complete the first phase of the renovations by May 14, so the hotel has rooms available for graduation season.
“We have to be mindful of the calendar. Business goes down during the winter, so it it’s a good time to renovate,” Hart said.
Currently, Hart said he does not know the estimated completion date for the entire project.
“I’ve been planning this for two years, so it’s a big project for us and the City,” Hart said. “The reality is that the renovation is necessary so there’s no reason to stop that process. If we need to take an extra year, it’s well worth the short delay.”