Aloft Columbus Westerville Opens
On Tuesday, Feb. 6, City leaders and community partners officially welcomed the Aloft Columbus Westerville to the Columbus Region. The new 101-room hotel is well positioned at 32 Heatherdown Dr., along the renovated southern gateway to the City.
“We chose the South State Street Corridor to be strategically placed for commuters traveling I-270,” said Robby Ryan, general manager at Aloft. “We also wanted to be in close proximity to Otterbein University and Uptown Westerville, to really be in the center of this great community.”
Only three years ago, the site on which the four-story hotel stands was anything but welcoming. It was once the location of an abandoned motel, a negative first impression that contrasted the rest of the City’s charming beauty.The 2.6-acre parcel is one of the first things motorists see when they enter Westerville, an opportunity City leaders did not want to waste. The City, in partnership with Westerville City Schools and Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation (COCIC), worked to acquire, demolish and reposition the site.
“We took a tremendous eyesore on one of the most blighted properties in our community and repositioned it to a beautiful, $20 million Aloft hotel that will be a catalyst for other development in the City,” said Jason Bechtold, Economic Development Director for the City of Westerville. “I don’t know a community or region that can say they’ve done the same.”
The transformation of the property was certainly impressive, but it’s no Cinderella story. Like all economic development in the City of Westerville, it was the result of smart planning and aggressive execution.
The hotel’s opening is a microcosm of the City’s strategy of leveraging public dollars to entice private investment to position the City for a brighter future. The area surrounding the new hotel underwent a transformation of its own with critical infrastructural and safety improvements through the South State Street Improvements project, which concluded this past July. Improvements included moving overhead utilities underground, replacing aging water mains, adding lanes and upgrading pedestrian facilities.“This was an intentional, direct approach,” said Bechtold. “When you can showcase the commitment the City has made in the area, it makes the invitation for businesses to invest in our community that much more enticing.”
The work paid off. The improvements, which represented about $30 million in public investment over eight years, have already translated into around $60 million in private investment, including the Aloft Hotel. Learn more about the new hotel at www.aloftcolumbuswesterville.com.