Downtown Cincinnati's Millennium Hotel to Close At End of Year

Elected officials have long pushed for sale of the hotel, which will likely come early next year. The Millennium will operate as usual and honor reservations until it closes Dec. 31.

The Millennium Hotel at 150 West 5th Street. - NICK SWARTSELL
Nick Swartsell
The Millennium Hotel at 150 West 5th Street.

Downtown's Millennium Hotel will cease operating Dec. 31, its owners say, clearing the way for acquisition and redevelopment by The Port.

About 100 employees will lose their jobs due to the closure. The hotel will operate as usual and all reservations remain effective up until the final day. Hotel staff will help those who made reservations after that date find other accommodations, a news release from the hotel's owners says. 

The Port, the county's redevelopment authority, is set to close on the $36 million purchase of the hotel early next year. It's studying a 600-1,000 unit replacement hotel and a potential expansion of the Duke Energy Convention Center on the site.

In September, the Hamilton County Commission voted 2-1 to provide $1.3 million from hotel tax revenue as earnest money in the proposed sale of the hotel by its current owner, an LLC held by the Millennium founder Kwek Leng Beng of Singapore.

Another $1.3 million would be due at the closing of the sale.

Many, including Mayor John Cranley and county officials, have complained about the 872-room hotel's condition and lack of upgrades. But until now, no one could convince the owners to sell the property.

Oakley-based developer Vandercar LLC founder Rob Smyjunas broke through after a decade of efforts, getting Beng to agree to a $36 million purchase contract on the Millennium in August. Smyjunas, as well as city and county leaders, envision demolishing the current, 51-year-old building and starting fresh.

Under the proposed deal, the combined convention center expansion and new hotel could cost as much as $500 million. The Port of Greater Cincinnati would issue tax-exempt bonds to fund the construction and proceeds from its operation would pay off that debt. The county commission believes a new hotel at the site could generate as much as $1.67 million in hotel taxes its first year. The current facility generated about $670,000 last year.

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