Canton’s only full-service downtown hotel, the McKinley Grand, is poised to get a roughly $5 million renovation and an affiliation with a national brand.
Owner Michael Gallegos of San Diego said Friday that negotiations are ongoing with a possible buyer of a majority stake in the 165-room hotel and the purchase would allow for the upgrade and affiliation with DoubleTree by Hilton.
Currently, the hotel is independent, meaning it has no affiliation with a hotel chain.
Gallegos stressed that any sale would allow his company to retain a minority interest and continue to operate the hotel at 320 Market Ave. S.
“We’ve been proud owners going on 14 years, and we love it there,” said Gallegos, whose Pacific Pearl Hotels LLC operates more than 20 hotels in the United States, including the La Quinta Inn & Suites north of Canton in Plain Township.
Gallegos said Canton “is a very viable and stable market,” with the hotel’s revenue “growing at a very respectable clip.”
The possible sale and affiliation with a national brand comes as developers talk about beefing up downtown Akron’s full-service hotel options.
Akron’s downtown center currently offers only one full-service property, the aging independent Akron City Center.
Akron city officials and some area civic leaders say a new hotel is key to continuing to rebuild the city’s downtown.
In Akron, area developer Joel Testa says he is close to breaking ground on a Courtyard by Marriott beside his Northside Lofts, at the northern edge of downtown.
And Amerimar Realty Co. of Philadelphia has teamed up with a group of local businessmen and is assembling financing to build a hotel adjacent to the Akron city-owned Greystone Hall that is across from the John S. Knight convention center.
Gallegos, speaking by phone from his office in San Diego, said the hope is that the McKinley Grand would attract more guests by becoming a “branded hotel” — one affiliated with a national name.
The hotel’s current average occupancy rate of 66.5 percent is several notches below the average rate of 70 to 72 for the Canton-area market as a whole, Gallegos said.
A branded hotel, industry experts say, can attract guests who use a national reservation system and are part of a brand’s “rewards” program. These programs offer various perks and discounts for repeat customers.
Gallegos said the plan is to have the renovation complete by July — in time for the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction festivities Aug. 2. Each year, the hotel serves as the headquarters hotel for the event.
Gallegos said Amerimar, the Philadelphia company, is not the entity considering buying the hotel. Talks with Amerimar about a purchase ended last year, he said. Amerimar bought the neighboring 11-story Huntington Plaza and its parking deck earlier this year.
Gallegos said his talks with two banks about financing the renovation have slowed now that he is negotiating a possible sale.
The hotel’s name refers to William McKinley, the U.S. president who lived in Canton. The hotel had been a Hilton-brand property when Gallegos purchased it. He switched the affiliation to a Marriott after significant renovations. But then, he said, he decided to go the independent route several years ago, after Marriott changed its brand standards and wanted more changes.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.