Impact 2020: The Port Acquires Millennium Hotel

Story By: Tom Millikin, The Port's Communications & Marketing Team

Part of The Port's 2020 Impact Report

The exterior of the Millennium Hotel didn’t change very much in 2020, but that doesn’t mean activity wasn’t in full swing in and around the Elm Street property in downtown Cincinnati.

The Port’s board of directors rang in the new year in January 2020 by unanimously approving up to $59 million in bonds to acquire and demolish the hotel.

Then, amidst the pandemic, The Port needed to clear the building of all its contents, finalize construction management contracts, and prepare the site for a delicate, mechanical demolition. A mechanical demolition (versus an implosion) was determined to be the safest and most effective demolition method because of the active, dense, urban environment surrounding the hotel.

A critical component of this demolition preparation included robust engagement and consultation with the City of Cincinnati’s Fire Department and the Department of Buildings and Inspections. At the time of acquisition, the property was a risk to surrounding properties and residents. Through frequent communication, The Port navigated property management within all proper codes and regulations.

Hero Image - Millennium - web

The Port Donates Millennium Hotel Contents to Families in Need

In late summer and early fall of 2020, The Port worked with Building Value to empty the contents of the hotel and provide them to local families in need. Building Value is an Easterseals organization providing on-the-job experience for people needing a second chance to enter the work force.

Items donated by The Port from the former hotel to families and individuals in need included: couches, lamps, chairs, tables, silverware, ironing boards, patio furniture, and electronics such as telephones, TVs, hair dryers and coffee makers.

The Port also donated many items from the former hotel for recycling, which included nearly 28,000 pounds of scrap metal, 1,000 beds and box springs, and four full truckloads of bed linens.

Assisting The Port and Building Value in these donations was New Life Furniture Bank, a faith-based, non-profit organization in Blue Ash serving Tri-State families in need. Building Value moved the furniture items from every floor in the hotel to the lobby for pick up, while New Life Furniture Bank provided transportation of the items and distribution to its more than 40 charitable partners.

Many other Cincinnati-area non-profits also played key roles in distributing and utilizing nearly 700 items from the former hotel, all benefiting individuals and families in the region, including:

  • Transformations CDC and Santa Maria Community Services – serving the local Central American immigrant community.
  • Community Matters – working with residents in Lower Price Hill to build opportunities and advance ideas for a stronger community.
  • Seven Day Savior House – serving a recovery and vocational training facility in the region.

“Donating household items so critically needed by families and organizations in our area is consistent with the mission of The Port - to transform our region by making real estate work for all,” said Laura N. Brunner, President and CEO of The Port. “With these donations we were able to positively impact lives by providing families and organizations some needed essentials that many simply don’t have.”

The Port Names Minority and Women-Owned Construction Management Partners

In late September, The Port announced several contract updates for the demolition and predevelopment activities of the former Millennium Hotel.

To oversee demolition of the former hotel, Turner Construction was named the construction management company for the project. For this work, The Port announced Turner will partner with d.e. Foxx & Associates, a Cincinnati-based, minority-owned construction management firm and one of the largest minority-owned companies in Cincinnati.

The contract for the demolition of the Millennium was awarded to the O’Rourke Wrecking Company, a woman-owned business enterprise located in Cincinnati. O’Rourke has committed to $1.6 million in minority spend on the demolition of the hotel.

Finally, for other demolition and predevelopment activities of the property, Turner will partner with minority-owned Jostin Construction and d.e. Foxx.

“We are fortunate to have great minority business partners on this project who each have deep experience,” said Dave Spaulding last September, vice president and general manager of Turner Construction.

Final Prep for Demo

The Port spent the remainder of Fall 2020 conducting due diligence on the site, meeting with engineering and architecture firms to identify strategies and options for demolition methodology and predevelopment and installing added safety measures and fencing around the property in anticipation of demolition to begin in Spring 2021.