LIBERTY - A group of investors is set to announce today a $10 million, 87-suite Comfort Inn on the old Ramada Inn property on Belmont Avenue.
Investors plan to reveal artist renderings and more details during a township trustees meeting Monday.
Township Administrator Patrick Ungaro said the project is spearheaded by Liberty resident Dr. V.C. Perni, along with several other doctors and Radius Hospitality, which he said will be a 30 percent owner. Radius president Scott Yeager runs the Boardman Holiday Inn, and Radius will manage the new hotel.
Ungaro said the facility will sit on 9 acres at the rear of the property and will include a 500-seat banquet facility along with the 87 suites.
The Ramada Inn closed in 2001 and the property has been vacant since 2008, when the building was demolished. Trustee Chairman Stan Nudell said vagrants had been living in the building when the property was purchased that same year.
Asbestos removal delayed the demolition because there was four times more asbestos in the building than estimated.
"This is a big deal. This property has been dead for over 20 years," Ungaro said. "It's the beginning of what will probably be three of four big projects right in front of it."
Ungaro has said that it is among the most desirable properties in the township because of its proximity to Interstate 80 and Belmont Avenue.
Several companies showed interest - including Home Depot - but that company pulled out because of the economic downturn of that year. But now Ungaro says the front portion of the property is likely to be filled with four additional businesses that include major franchises, though nothing is etched in stone.
Nudell said the project is expected to have a massive impact on Liberty's economy and commercial infrastructure.
"It's going to bring more business to the area. I think we're so central, with the freeway right there, when this comes together, it will be a catalyst for future growth," he said.
"This could be the project we need to get Liberty back on its feet and going in the right direction."