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Economy

Downtown Akron Hotel Prepares for New Year's Eve Debut

Finishing touches are being put on a new hotel in downtown Akron. It’s located in the historic United building and will welcome guests for the first time on New Year’s Eve.

a photo of moving crews
Credit SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU
Crews move in furniture at the BLU-tique Hotel on Monday, December 30, 2019. The hotel, at Main & Market Streets in downtown Akron, opens New Year's Eve.

They’re moving in furniture and mopping floors at BLU-tique, the latest of developer Tony Troppe’s blue ventures. "We’re going back to 1959, where the birth of cool and Kind of Blue with Miles Davis started," Troppe said. He already has the BLU Plate restaurant and the BLU Jazz+ nightclub. "This is the blueberry on top, the absolute culmination of many years of grand planning and a great team effort," Troppe said.

This is his first venture in the hotel business. He’s invested more than $10 million in restoring the building at 1 S. Main Street, what he calls the city's "front door." The 71-room hotel will be run by Medina-based Riley Hotel Group. Riley’s Joe Moffa says the historic renovation has been challenging.

"Designing a hotel in a historic building is extremely difficult because there's a certain amount you have to keep historic and you have to work around that. Ultimately, though, it ends up being a beautiful product as you can tell by the elevators, the brass, the floors upstairs, the marble all around, the exterior of the building. All of that is what’s gonna make this hotel special," Moffa said. He was also attracted to the long-term vision. "With Lock 15, the trailhead, Mocha Maiden, Musica, the bourbon bar, everything Tony’s got going on in downtown Akron, we’re going to eventually tie it all together," Moffa said.

a photo of Joe Moffa and Tony Troppe
Credit SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU
Riley Hotel Group president Joe Moffa (left) with developer Tony Troppe.

For now Moffa’s focused on Tuesday’s opening. "We probably will have 60 [rooms] ready to go. We have 15 reservations, so we have plenty of room for anybody that’d like to come stay," Moffa said. He says the rooms will be fairly priced with rates ranging from $129-$189 a night. There are two, 1,200 square foot presidential suites with city views that will be priced higher.

For New Year's Eve, Troppe plans a "Round Midnight" celebration tying in all three BLU venues, with a buffet at the BLU Plate. At BLU Jazz+ guitarist Dan Wilson will perform followed by local favorites Wesley Bright & The Honeytones. "He’s coming out of retirement for this special celebration ," Troppe said. "It just seemed like it’d be the perfect way to put the cap on our last decade as we roll out the blue carpet for the new decade."

The city plans a ribbon cutting at Blu-tique Tuesday morning at 10.

a photo of the lounge at BLU-tique
Credit SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU
The lounge area at the BLU-tique Hotel in downtown Akron.