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As the Millennium Hotel comes down, some are looking to the future

Posted at 6:54 AM, Jul 23, 2021

CINCINNATI — Demolition of the Millennium Hotel is expected to finish in the summer of 2022, but some people are already thinking about the future of the space.

The blighted hotel closed in 2019 before it was sold to the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority in 2020. Then, demolition began in March, and so far things are going as planned.

"No surprises yet," Michelle O'Rourke, CEO of the O'Rourke Wrecking Company, said. "But the project's still early."

O'Rourke said a project like this will take skill and patience.

"In the demolition business, 32 stories and a 23-story side by side is something you don't see every day," she said. "Typically on a building like this in other cities, we've done the implosion method... but this project didn't lend itself to that because of the close proximity to the 8451 building, and there's live utility lines surrounding the utility site that feed the central business district."

But Jordan Vogel, the executive director of Allied Construction Industries, said it will all be worth it.

"This is a region that's on the rise," Vogel said. "There are a lot of good people working hard to make sure that Cincinnati is a tier-one city, and we can't be a tier-one city without a headquarters hotel."

A new hotel placed on the same lot as the Millennium Hotel has been discussed, but nothing is set yet. Vogel said an 800-room hotel would need to be planned.

"Right now, if you think of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, they are selling out to 2024, 2025 and beyond and they're trying to sell to big conventions to bring them here," he said. "We're working hard to be the city that we all aspire to be."

No matter what the next steps are for the space, though, O'Rourke said she's looking forward to what comes next.

"It's exciting, and we're excited to see what the future brings for this site."