Convention Center Hotel Request for Proposals Put on Hold

Posted on August 7, 2019 by jrudemiller

Search for Hotel Developer Paused as Hamilton County Pursues Alternate Plan

CINCINNATI (August 7, 2019) – In light of recent developments concerning the property surrounding the Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC), with direction from its board of directors, has decided to pause on issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a developer for a new convention center hotel.

“3CDC is committed to being a partner with the Convention Center, CVB, City, and County, to address the urgent need for a first-class convention center hotel,” Steve Leeper, President and CEO of 3CDC, said.  “The Convention Center, and the tourism and hotel business it supports, has a significant impact on the Cincinnati region’s economy, and 3CDC believes the development of a new, upscale convention Center Hotel is essential to boost convention attendance and generate new revenue for the region.”

“However, at this point, we understand that the County is pursuing an acquisition of the Millennium Hotel with a local developer,” Leeper continued.  “As this is a significant event that would ultimately affect our ability to issue and complete a successful RFP, we have decided to pause our activity until there is additional clarity on the project.”

Until the County determines the feasibility of the legal, financial, and development plan at the Millennium site, 3CDC will refrain from sending out the finalized RFP in an effort to avoid sending mixed messages to the development and hospitality communities.


As part of the efforts to address the need for a first-class convention center hotel, 3CDC took steps to acquire the parking lot directly south of the Duke Energy Convention Center (DECC) in early 2018. Upon purchasing the lot, the organization assigned ownership to its partners at The Port of Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority (The Port), with the intention of vetting the site to determine whether it could be utilized for a new convention center hotel.

To assess the current hotel market, 3CDC commissioned a study – conducted by HVS, a global hospitality consulting firm and an expert in the area. The results concluded that the local hotel market was strong, and that it could support the addition of a new upper-scale, full-service convention center hotel. In addition to bringing new convention and meeting business to Cincinnati, a new convention center hotel would create temporary jobs during construction and permanent jobs once the hotel opens.

When considering the results of the HVS study along with the lot’s size (82,000 square feet) and location – directly south of the DECC – it became clear that the highest and best use for the site was a convention center hotel. As a result, the decision was made to send out a request for proposals (RFP) for the development of a new, upscale convention center hotel to be built at the site. Elected officials from Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati and leaders from 3CDC, The Port and CVB gathered at the site on April 29, 2019, to announce their collaborative effort to move forward with a focused plan, starting with the issuance of the RFP.

Since the announcement, 3CDC has been working with HVS to finalize and distribute the document, and has fielded inquiries from numerous developers and subcontractors interested in working on this potentially transformative project.  The RFP contemplates a privately owned and operated convention center hotel that would meet the CVB’s need for room block reservations to attract and accommodate national and regional conventions. The RFP was in its final form, and there were prominent developers in the hospitality community actively awaiting its release.

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