Three years ago the cement box that was the old Cuyahoga County Administration stood at the corner of Lakeside and Ontario, now there are 32 stories of glass and steel, a $237 million investment in Cleveland's future with the opening of the new 600 room Hilton Cleveland Downtown Hotel.
The hotel came in on time and under budget, on the time front there wasn't much wiggle room. The Hilton's staff will get an immediate test though as they've sold out for games 3 & 4 of the NBA Finals. If the Cavs had won home court advantage it would have been one heck of an opening day.
"We were almost city one," said Hilton GM Teri Agosta of the Cavs near host status for the Finals. "Which would have meant that we would have checked in several hundred people today. So as city two it gives us a little bit of breathing room as really the big day is June 6."
In July the sellouts continue with the RNC and another big convention immediately after it. In fact in between July 5 and July 30 there are only three days that aren't sold out.
"So it's one thing after another a lot of corporations are coming in so it's a very vibrant year and really many years in the future," Agosta said.
Without the new hotel and the decision by then Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald to move out of the County Administration Building early so construction could begin early, Cleveland would not have landed the Republican National Convention.
FitzGerald's successor Armond Budish said it now sets Cleveland up for big conventions that bypassed the city.
"To bring in major conventions you have to have a convention hotel, this facility will lead to more business for the other hotels throughout the county as well as we're seeing with the RNC," said Budish.