Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center expected to open in June

Kent+State+University+Hotel+%26amp%3B+Conference+Center+on+the+corner+of+Erie+%26amp%3B+Depeyster.+Photo+courtesy+of+Kent+Ohio+Development.

Kent State University Hotel & Conference Center on the corner of Erie & Depeyster. Photo courtesy of Kent Ohio Development.

Cody Erbacher

Constant changes in scenery welcome Kent city visitors, most of which have been continuing construction sites throughout the downtown area.

The construction, part of a complete overhaul in attempt to update Kent’s image, is centered around a major component lacking in this college town: overnight lodging for visitors.

However, that won’t be a problem much longer with the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center. The hotel is a 94-room, four-floor hotel with a 5,400 square foot conference area capable of seating 300 people.

There will also be a 20-seat bar in conjunction with nine 50-inch monitors on the first floor of the hotel on South Depeyster St.

“We’re going to open sometime in June,” said project executive Shannon Hamons, the Columbus Region Vice President for The Pizzuti Companies.

As the hotel nears completion, there will be viewings for interested clients, then an eventual “soft opening,” Hamons said.

The Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center will utilize the parking garage, which is part of the Portage Area Regional Transit Authority Central Gateway Transit facility, as primary parking facilities, but rates are still to be determined.

“We’re discussing with (PARTA) how we’re going to manage the spots and how much it is going to cost a day,” Hamons said. “But it’s going to be a lot less expensive than if you were in a big city parking.”

Lawrence Carter, the asset manager of the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center, said the parking deck is expected to open mid-to-late March, however, “the rest of the details are still being worked out as both facilities are still under construction,” Carter said.

Initial completion estimates said the project would be finished sometime this spring, but there were delays at the start of construction a year and a half ago. Despite the delays, the current timetable is expected to remain intact, according to Hamons.

Construction for the hotel, which will provide city visitors with more lodging options other than the I-76 locations, has been in progress for nearly two years.

Until recently, most of the progress had been applied to the buildings’ foundation and exterior.

“We have some finishes and some detail to complete on the outside, but basically it’s pretty well buttoned up,” Hamons said. “Next week you’ll see the glass wall that will enclose the pool area that goes around the end of Haymaker and Depeyster.”

Hamons gave a tour of the hotel’s interior progress to a couple of trustees from the Kent State University Foundation, and they were pleased with the progress.

“From the outside you can’t see all the progress going on inside,” Hamons said. “There are probably 50 (plus) people inside working today.”

The Pizzuti Companies, owned by former Kent resident and student Ron Pizzuti, is managing construction on behalf of the Kent State University Foundation, which is funding the project.

“The foundation is pretty much funding (the project) totally,” Hamons said. “Our company has some money into the project because we’re a small owner, but almost all of that is from the foundation.“

The Kent State University Foundation bought the land from Kent State initiating the project prior to construction.

“(The project) is one of many bridges currently linking Kent State University, the City of Kent and the local business community,” Carter said. “It provides a vital tool to support the continued growth and success of downtown and the University.”

The Riley Group, based out of Medina, is tasked with handling hotel/conference center operations, meaning the company will handle all bookings, catering and employees.

At this time sales and event inquires can be emailed to [email protected]

Contact Cody Erbacher at [email protected].