Hotel developer seeks tax credits for Hamilton project

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

A hotel developer hopes to receive state historic tax credits to aid in the transformation of the former Hamilton municipal building into a Marriott Tribute hotel.

Spectrum Investment Group and Acumen Development formed Mueller Hotel LLC to redevelop the former city building at 20 High St. to transform the site into an upscale brand hotel with various amenities while preserving the historic art deco style of the limestone building.

However, before they could apply to the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, they needed to have some type of ownership of the building. The city and Mueller Hotel LLC are still in the due diligence phase of a sales and development agreement, so in the meantime, to help the developer apply for the tax credits, the two sides agreed to a master lease. Mueller Hotel LLC will be a tenant so they could apply for the credits, which they did Monday, said Armo Kamal.

“Projects like this can be incredibly difficult to undertake from a feasibility and viability standpoint,” he said, noting support the developers have received from the community, city government as well as the state and national preservation programs. “We knew preserving the building’s architectural and design history through rehabilitation was the right thing to do, despite the challenges that can occur with these types of project. Challenges can be overcome and forgotten, but we cannot allow for a building with this type of design and history to ever be forgotten.”

The historic tax credit program can provide a project up to 25% of qualified rehabilitation expenditures (up to $5 million) incurred during a rehabilitation project, according to the Ohio Department of Development. The tax credit can be applied to applicable financial institutions, foreign and domestic insurance premiums or individual income taxes.

The review of the tax credit applications is now until June 1, and approved projects are scheduled to be announced on or before June 30.

“This is another major milestone for the project,” said Hamilton Chief of Staff Aaron Hufford. “Securing state historic tax credits will be instrumental in breathing new life into our former city hall.”

The current plan for Mueller Hotel LLC includes renovating the existing building and constructing a new four-story structure. The developer told the Journal-News last month they are planning between 150 to 160 rooms with the majority of the rooms in the addition.

There will also be 6,000 square feet for food and beverage areas, including a speakeasy basement bar. The redevelopment will also feature a rooftop event space, an expanded patio area, and an expansion of Municipal Brew Works, which occupies the back end of the building.

Mueller Hotel LLC plans to invest about $48 million into the project with plans to begin construction in 2025 and to complete it sometime in 2026.

Last month, Mueller Hotel LLC announced they signed a deal with Marriott to make 20 High St. a Marriott Tribute brand, though the name of the hotel has not yet been announced. Tribute is Marriott’s boutique hotel brand and would be the second Marriott hotel in Hamilton. The Courtyard by Marriott in Hamilton is across Market Street from the former city building.

This is the latest hotel project planned for Hamilton, a city that’s developed a need for guests and travelers in recent years sparked by the development of Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill. Spooky Nook opened its hotel, the Warehouse Hotel, in 2022, and the Anthony Wayne Apartments is now being redeveloped for Hilton’s boutique hotel brand, the Tapestry Collection, called the Well House Hotel. There is also a dual Hilton hotel project planned for the corner of MLK Boulevard and High Street and at least one hotel at the Crawford Hoying project at the corner of North Third and Black streets.

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