Building of hotel at Eastwood Mall to begin
By Burton Speakman
After five years of planning, work will begin within the next month on a new hotel and banquet center at Eastwood Mall.
This will be the only hotel attached to a shopping mall in a suburban area in the United States, said Anthony Cafaro Jr., co-president of the Cafaro Co., which owns the mall. “You see them in urban areas, but never in suburban settings,” he said.
The project will include a total investment of more than $14 million. It will create hundreds of construction jobs and then 55 permanent jobs when the hotel and banquet center are completed.
Eastwood Mall is not the typical shopping mall, entertainment venue or dining destination, Cafaro said.
Over the years the mall and surrounding properties have served as an economic engine for Trumbull County, he said. This hotel and banquet center will fill a need in the county for long-term hotel accommodations.
The hotel will be a Residence Inn by Marriott. It will include 103 suites, with a common area and one to two bedrooms, and is being designed mostly for extended-stay guests. It will be operated by TMI Hospitality of Fargo, N.D.
The hotel also will include a banquet and conference center, Cafaro said. The banquet center is being designed to accommodate events with 25 to 1,000 people.
The hotel is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2013, and the banquet and conference center will open a few months later, he said.
“We’re still looking for a company, hopefully a local company, to come in and run the banquet center,” Cafaro said.
This will be the first hotel for TMI that is attached to a mall, said Dave Mangus, area director for the company. The company has a number of hotels that are adjacent to malls.
“It will be a good place for our guests to relax, shop, and dining options are steps away,” he said.
For its population, Trumbull County was underserved in the number of hotel rooms available. The shortage was a challenge when the convention and visitors bureau attempted to recruit larger events to the county, Cafaro said.
Despite the hotel connected to a mall being unusual, Cafaro said he is not worried about any risks.
“We’ve been successful by making the small decisions well. Then the big decisions take care of themselves,” he said.
The biggest issue with the proximity is that Cafaro Co. will be able to keep a close eye on the hotel project and TMI will be able to keep tabs on how things are progressing at the mall, Mangus said.
“TMI has always had a strong relationship with the Cafaro Company,” he said.
Niles Mayor Ralph Infante Jr. called the new hotel and banquet center great news for the city and Trumbull County.
This will add development to Niles, which relies on sales tax for its income, he said.
“The Cafaro family continues to invest in the Eastwood Mall and the city of Niles,” Infante said.