Local Hotelier Danny Gaekwad has been steadfast in his approach to the new Downtown Hotel project, located at the old Chamber of Commerce Building, near the historic Downtown Square. Project delays have all been taken in stride, as the hotel construction is subject to space and historic district limitations, with both the city and Gaekwad wanting what is best for downtown development.
Final plans have now been submitted for the construction project, which will start in the Fall of 2017. Plans include the construction of the new hotel building, which will be a 5 story building housing the hotel, a restaurant and retail space. Challenges in the historic district have much to do about space, with the construction of this new building being restricted to the 1.1 acre lot. Gaekwad has done a tremendous job working with Assistant City Manager Bill Kauffman, submitting plans and staying on target for the ground breaking date this fall.
Gaekwad was recently interviewed by the Ocala Star Banner and had the following statement:
“He (Gaekwad) said that because of the historical nature of the downtown square and limited space, he has submitted multiple plans, each tweaked to accommodate any concerns about easement rights, aesthetics and existing utility lines. He said numerous city of Ocala development and engineering staffers are meticulously reviewing each submission, “but it’s the right thing to do.”
Gaekwad has purchased the former chamber of commerce lot, and the city has worked with him on deeply discounting the cost of that land and arranging for tax incentives in order for this project to be a successful one. Gaekwad will also be taking applications for the retail space located within the building, opening up new opportunities for business owners and employees in our city.
For more information on the Downtown Hotel Project, please see this recent article in the Ocala Star Banner.