Long-awaited demolition of blighted Millennium Hotel set to begin in March

WCPO file photo of the former Millennium Hotel in downtown Cincinnati.
Posted at 2:26 PM, Feb 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 09:21:45-05

CINCINNATI — Demolition of an aging Downtown hotel will begin in less than two weeks, according to an official with the port authority.

Owners of the 872-room Millennium Hotel -- located on the 500 block of Elm Street, opposite the Duke Energy Convention Center -- sold the property to the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority early last year after it became clear the cost of necessary upgrades made demolition and reconstruction a more viable path forward.

Crews will begin a mechanical demolition -- imploding the building is not an option due to its close proximity to neighboring structures -- on or about March 8, according to the Port's vice president of communications, Tom Millikin. He said he expects that process to conclude by June 2022.

While crews are demolishing the building, they will also spend three months or so removing environmentally hazardous materials such as asbestos and old light fixtures.

Before closing on Dec. 31, 2019, the Millennium was Downtown's largest hotel and a go-to stay for convention visitors to the Tri-State, due to its proximity to the Duke Energy center, but, in recent years, the hotel's online reviews painted a stark picture of its accommodations.

As WCPO previously reported, some of those reviews called the hotel "horrible, absolutely gross," "smelly, dirty and pricey," and the "worst Downtown hotel ever." After years of trying to persuade the owners to make renovations, Mayor John Cranley in March 2019 said it was a "terrible place to stay."

Soon after Cranley's remarks, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters filed a public nuisance complaint against the hotel.

The hotel's dilapidating state -- and its ultimate closure -- has put Cincinnati and the Duke Energy Convention Center at a perennial disadvantage when trying to attract conventions to the area, experts told WCPO last year. Convention officials since have said that they are working to attract smaller conventions while the site remains absent a major hotel to which to anchor.

There's no word on progress for a new hotel, its size or brand.