Saturday, January 12, 2008


I love Yankee Trader but the building that it is located in has been neglected for a long time and as neighboring buildings are being renovated, the structure's condition becomes more obvious.

Turning the site into a boutique hotel is a great idea. People's lodging preferences have evolved from finding comfort in chain hotels and are looking to complement their visit to another city with a unique overnight accommodation. Currently the Lofts are the only boutique hotel in Columbus but the expanding hotel and airport market suggest there is a greater demand for the niche lodging style. The location alone directly across from the Convention Center and adjacent to the Arena, SN, IV, and VV districts will help make this property conversion a success.

As for the criticism that a boutique hotel would dilute City plans for a large service hotel, I doubt that. Boutique and chain hotels attract different clienteles who are able/willing to pay more for a more customized overnight stay. While some distance between the properties is admittedly more ideal I do not think one would hurt the other especially since the Convention Center is trying to attract larger conventions which would in turn demand more rooms.

On another side note, you can see that the building's asking price -$5.1M reflects the growing popularity of the downtown and neighboring districts.

Boutique hotel suggested
Talk of 155-room inn near convention center riles backers who want a full-service property
Saturday, January 12, 2008 6:48 AM
By Mike Pramik and Marla Matzer Rose
A funky novelty store predating the Greater Columbus Convention Center and today's trendy Short North may play a key part in the future of both.

The owners of Yankee Trader have enlisted a real-estate broker to seek a buyer who will convert their aging brick building at 463 N. High St. into an upscale hotel.

The downside: The potential development could hurt plans for a larger, convention-style hotel being considered a block away on property controlled by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, local officials said this week.

Yankee Trader co-owner Lynette Howard said she's not planning to close the quirky store, known for Halloween costumes, rubber eyeballs and plastic rats. But she says she might move.

"I would never sell the business," she said. "If the price were right, I might sell the building."

Broker CB Richard Ellis said the Yankee Trader building, directly across from the convention center, would be ideal for a "boutique" hotel -- an intimate, upscale property not affiliated with a name brand.

The price being asked for the building is $5.1 million, according to the CB Richard Ellis report. That's quite a change from 1966, when it was assessed at $20,630.

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