North Bechtle Square is being developed at the intersection of St. Paris Pike and Bechtle Avenue.
The project has been hailed by city officials as a welcome addition on property that is part of the city’s central retail, dining and commercial corridor.
The possibility of a hotel in the busiest shopping area of the city has been in discussion since at least 2017 with city officials hoping for such a project to be located on the vacant 4.8-acre property.
Heavy equipment currently located at the site will start putting in a driveway and infrastructure soon, according to John Vlahos of Zuber Crossing LLC, who until recently owned the property and was central to the sale and contracting involved with the site.
Vlahos said once the necessary infrastructure is in place, he expects construction of the hotel to commence in 2024.
The variance application submitted to the city lists a proposed Home2 Suites Hotel. City officials said Thursday they had not received building plans yet and did not know when hotel construction might begin.
The variance application also showed two remaining parcels available in the triangular shaped 4.8-acre property.
Over the years, car dealerships and other businesses have been considered for the land, but they failed to materialize.
Also proposed for another portion of the property is an Ultimate Shine Car Wash. During an April Springfield City Commission session, the development was put on hold and conditions were set for management and maintenance of the existing property before action would be taken on the car wash zoning issue.
Vlahos says the car wash possibility is still on the table.
“There have been meetings between the owners of the car wash and hotel. It seems to be a good fit for both of them to develop their projects on the property. We expect to be back before the commission for review of the zoning change In October.”
Previously, commissioners appeared split on whether they believed both developments were appropriate for the land in question. The location is currently zoned for a commercial center with retail out-lots, such as shopping centers, retail, banks or restaurants. The Board of Zoning Appeals recommended against altering zoning to accommodate construction of the car wash.
Also during the April session, Assistant Mayor Rob Rue voiced opposition to locating the car wash at the site.
“I love a clean car but would encourage the company to look for a different property in the area,” he said. “I feel once we place an automotive related facility in that location, we are hemming ourselves in to what else could be constructed in that area. It would restrict use by other developers on that property.”
Some of those concerns might be resolved if developers of the hotel indicate the support having Ultimate Shine as a neighbor on the property.