A new hotel is coming to Homewood, but not where you might expect.
Village President Richard Hofeld announced (with great excitement) last Friday the finalized sale of the historic Great Lakes Bank building in downtown Homewood. A boutique hotel will be replacing it, he said.
“Residents and business owners have asked for us to bring interesting, unique businesses to the downtown area," Hofeld said. "This development marks a new day for Homewood and represents years of planning and cooperative efforts from village and bank staff alike,”
The downtown Great Lakes Bank branch is scheduled to move to and consolidate with the other Great Lakes Bank location in Homewood along Dixie Highway.
“Great Lakes Bank’s willingness to move its Homewood operations to the Dixie Highway branch was central in allowing village staff to solicit and market the desirable Ridge Road location," Hofeld said.
Dr. Claude Gendreau, owner of Ravisloe Country Club, bought the property. The boutique hotel will serve residents and businesses as it fills a void in Homewood's hospitality market, he said. Gendreau said his new hotel will primarily cater to several of the large businesses in Homewood that routinely send guests out of town for overnight accommodations.
“The Great Lakes Bank site offered everything I was looking for in a location for a new, upscale boutique hotel in Homewood,” Gendreau said. “(This includes) the bustling downtown atmosphere, easy access to shopping, restaurants and transportation and the charm and character of a wonderful neighborhood, Homewood."
The plans for the new hotel involve preserving the historic Great Lakes Bank building. Gendreau says he plans to create 35 to 40 guest rooms in the new facility. The hotel, as planned, is en route to becoming Homewood's first Leadership in Energy an Environmental Design (LEED) certified property. The LEED green building rating system—developed and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council—is designed to promote design and construction practices that increase profitability while reducing the negative environmental impacts of buildings and improving occupant health and well-being. In addition, over 30 jobs are expected to be created along with the new hotel.
The sale of Great Lakes Bank comes at a key time in the reenergizing of the downtown Homewood business district, according to Hofeld.
“Great Lakes Bank is proud to continue its long history of partnership with and stewardship to Homewood, and is excited to offer our customers a new level of service and speed at our nearby Dixie Highway branch, which is also in Homewood," Great Lakes President Ronald T. Shropshire said. "This branch will become the largest bank branch in the Village.
“We share the Village of Homewood’s vision to revitalize downtown Homewood and see this as a significant opportunity for economic revitalization," Shropshire added. ”Great Lakes Bank’s strong and lasting commitment to Homewood and the other communities it serves will continue, as the Bank focuses all of its Homewood customer operations at the Dixie Highway branch when it moves and consolidates operations."
Great Lakes Bank will close the Ridge Road location in June 2012 and consolidate operations at its other Homewood location, 18600 Dixie Highway. The seven employees at the Ridge Road branch will be able to take jobs either at the second Homewood branch or at other Great Lakes locations, according to Shropshire.
Gendreau estimates the upscale boutique hotel will open in the Fall of 2013.