Taxpayers May Pay $22 Million To Help Out Hotel

(Cleveland) - One of downtown Cleveland's newest, and largest hotels will likely need a bailout from taxpayers for the second year in a row, because of the pandemic.

The Hilton Cleveland Downtown Hotel at Lakeside Avenue and Ontario Street is owned by Cuyahoga County government. It was built on the site of the old county administration building. Occupancy at the hotel has been way down for the past year because of the cancellation of conventions, and lack of tourism, thanks to the pandemic.

Even without as many hotel guests, the county is still financially liable for things like the hotel's taxes, insurance, and debt payments. In 2020, County Council approved a subsidy of about $7.9 million to cover those expenses. Now, The Plain Dealer and report the county may be on the hook for as much as $14 million for 2021 expenses which couldn't be covered by hotel revenue.

The hotel is technically owned by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, which leases it to the county. Hilton is paid by the county to operate the hotel, which was opened just before the 2016 Republican National Convention, and is connected to the Huntington Convention Center.

(Photo by Ken Robinson, WTAM)

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