Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Westin Downtown Cleveland: Why EB-5?

The newly opened Westin Downtown Cleveland was built via a collaboration between private developers and CiF using capital from EB-5 investors. CiF was pleased to have been a lender to the project since, without EB-5 financing, the project would not have moved forward.

In its previous life, the building on the northeast corner of East 6th Street and St. Clair Avenue operated as a Crowne Plaza hotel. But years of neglect and mismanagement left the building in dire need of rehabilitation; windows and plumbing leaked, air conditioning was not reliable, and some guest rooms were simply locked shut and forgotten about as the cost of repair was deemed too high. Ultimately, the Crowne Plaza closed and it seemed the most likely future for the building was to become another empty tower in Cleveland. To make matters worse, the dilapidated former hotel was in a very visible section of downtown, only a block away from the construction site of the new Cleveland Convention Center.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Westin and Cleveland’s Downtown Revitalization

Downtown Cleveland’s economic resurgence has been made possible by entities from different sectors working together to bring new development to neglected corners of the city. CiF is one such organization; working with developers and local government entities to provide low-cost EB-5 financing to job creating projects. The Westin Downtown Cleveland is a great example of one of CiF’s successful collaborations, as the project helped revitalize a very visible section of downtown and has created positive economic impacts that ripple across the local and regional economy.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Westin Downtown Cleveland EB-5 Project

CiF’s third EB-5 project was the transformation of the former Crowne Plaza hotel at the corner of East 6th Street and Saint Clair Avenue in downtown Cleveland into a new Westin Hotel. The Crowne Plaza had long been in disrepair and was in desperate need of renovation, reflagging the hotel as a Westin – complete with new amenities and significant upgrades – was an excellent way to prevent the building from sliding into further dilapidation and disuse.

The need to preserve the hotel at the corner of East 6th and Saint Clair was only made more pressing by the construction of the Cleveland Convention Center and attached Global Center for Health Innovation, which was underway just a block to the east of the property.

Working with the property’s owner, CiF raised $36 million in EB-5 funds from foreign nationals, for use in converting the Crowne Plaza into a state of the art Westin hotel. Construction of the Westin project tracked the construction of the Convention Center (and attached Global Center) with the Westin opening for business less than a year after the opening of the Convention Center began operations.

The 22-floor Westin has been operating for more than a year and its 484 rooms provide lodging for business travelers, convention-goers, and tourists alike. The hotel offers signature Westin amenities and has ballrooms and meeting space available for private use. The Westin also boasts one of Cleveland’s finest steakhouses, The Urban Farmer, which specializes in locally sourced ingredients drawn from sustainable sources. Further, Cleveland’s own LAND Studio worked with hotel management to fill the lobby, guest rooms, and other hotel spaces with more than 1,500 pieces of artwork, many created by local Cleveland artists.

CiF was glad to have been able to partner with the developers to see the completion of the new Westin Downtown Cleveland. The project has helped revitalize a very visible part of downtown Cleveland and the Westin provides quality lodging options to guests of all kinds, helping to further the mission of the Convention Center.

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