Investors dreaming big in creating new hotel in Walnut Creek
by By Dave Mast
In a county filled with entrepreneurial people, dreaming big has become somewhat of a mantra for business owners throughout Holmes County. For a trio of local investors, dreaming big means creating what they hope will be the newest superlative lodging hotel in the county, and the residual effects of what can grow from their efforts have them extremely excited about the possibilities.
Investors Robert Schlabach, Tom Miller and Brian Miller have purchased six acres of land to the west of The Cove in Walnut Creek, located just to the south of the traffic light on SR 39, and are in the process of creating what should be an incredible draw to the Walnut Creek area in the very near future. Schlabach, president of construction of Winesburg Builders, will be serving as the general contractor for the hotel project. With Schlabach’s building experience, and with their commitment to quality on the project, Brian Miller said there is plenty of reason to be excited about what is on the horizon.
“Right now it’s opportunity and optimism,” said Miller. “We are very optimistic about the future of the area, and helping to meet the needs of the people who come to Amish Country to visit. We see a great deal of potential in this that will not only be an asset in the tourism industry in Walnut Creek and Holmes County, but will also create a number of jobs.”
The hotel will create employment both in the hotel itself, where there are expected be 15 full-time employees, and in the building process, where several local contractors will be utilized.
Miller added that the project will open up some intriguing opportunities for businesses wishing to expand into the Walnut Creek area, something else the trio considered heavily before deciding to put their plan into action.
In addition to the hotel, the trio of investors have provided enough land to hopefully provide for a restaurant, bank and a professional building to move in, among other possibilities.
While Winesburg Builders will be acting as the general contractor for the hotel, the Columbus-based firm PH7 Architects have created the specs for the hotel, with construction slated to begin sometime in August.
As that date quickly approaches, Schlabach said that if the weather cooperates, they should be able to get the building under roof before winter, meaning that they can work throughout the winter months in preparation of getting the hotel completed by sometime in May or June of 2013.
The very fact that opening day is not so far away is exciting for the investors, considering that this could well be a huge boon for the county’s tourism, and for Walnut Creek in particular.
“It’s still very much in its infancy stage, but we all feel that Walnut Creek is an area that is ready to grow in the tourism industry,” said Miller. “Our aim is to give people a variety of options for lodging when they come to the area.”
With the recent growth of Walnut Creek and the SR 39 corridor continuing to grow into an appealing stretch for tourism-related businesses, the hotel seems like a fine place to begin the growth process.
According to Schlabach, the plan is to create a very modern, European style hotel, complete with four floors plus a basement level, 60 rooms, a pool, fitness area, breakfast area and conference rooms.
“It will be very state-of-the-art,” said Schlabach, who is also a co-investor and contractor for the Berlin Grande Hotel. “We are looking at having a very European style flair to the building that will also be very energy efficient, with a bit of a modern, loft feel to it.”
Tom Miller said that the one thing they will not do in creating both the hotel and the surrounding businesses that come in, is to scrimp on either quality or appeal. According to Miller, as the campus develops around the hotel, it will fit in with the surrounding neighborhood.
“We want this whole campus to be an attractive place where people will want to come,” said Miller. “It’s really going to be a beautiful area, and will make a growing town even more attractive to tourists.”
As the tourism industry continues to blossom in Holmes County, the new hotel showcases exactly how the demands and needs of visitors are being met.
They are being met by people who aren’t afraid to dream big.