Lytle Park and Beyond
Left to Right: Mario San Marco, president, Eagle Realty Group and John Barrett, chairman of the board, president and CEO, Western & Southern Financial Group
Photo by Greg Grupenhof
Western & Southern Financial Group completed the addition of a rooftop terrace to one of downtown Cincinnati’s most luxurious hotels, the Residence Inn by Marriott, in Fall 2014. The new space, Top of the Park, includes an enclosed event room and a large deck on the east side of the hotel, which inhabits the Western & Southern-owned Phelps Building.
Guests mounting the terrace will see sweeping views of the Ohio River to the south, Mount Adams to the east and to the north the I-71 corridor that begins with Lytle Park. Top of the Park can be reserved for corporate meetings, weddings, private social events, and cocktail parties for up to 60 people. The venue is open for hotel guests and the public from 5:30-9 p.m. Monday-Friday with a menu of hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.
The addition of Top of the Park demonstrates Western & Southern’s long-term commitment to developing the area around its Lytle Park properties, where it has been headquartered since 1901.
“We want the neighborhood to be a safe, convenient place to receive our customers and associates,” says John Barrett, chairman of the board, president and CEO of Western & Southern. “The hotel, with its restaurant and rooftop entertainment attractions, has contributed to making the neighborhood a much more vibrant part of our downtown.”
The hotel features 134 one- and two-bedroom residential-style suites with 60 percent more space than traditional hotel rooms. Each spacious suite features separate living and working spaces; a fully equipped kitchen; in-room high-speed Internet access; a large, well-lit work desk with ergonomic seating; and flat-panel high-definition TVs. The addition of Top of the Park to these amenities obviously only adds to the hotel’s impressive offerings.
“It is a great place for people to gather after work and relax while enjoying a wonderful view of Northern Kentucky and downtown Cincinnati from up high,” Barrett says of Top of the Park.
“We wanted to give the hotel yet another distinctive feature to set it apart. And we are not done yet. We will continue to look at ways to enhance the experience of the hotel guests or any visitor to the area.”
The Residence Inn by Marriott is only a single instance of the company’s involvement in the renaissance of downtown Cincinnati’s southeast quadrant. From the restoration of the Guilford Building to the development of the incredibly ambitious Queen City Square, which includes Great American Tower, Western & Southern has been demonstrative in its commitment to the area. Moreover, Western & Southern was integral to a 2014 revision of the boundaries of the Lytle Park Historic District, which could pave the way for future, if unspecified, plans for an even greater corporate presence in Cincinnati.
“The Residence Inn by Marriott is but one element of the grand vision we have for Lytle Park,” explains Barrett. “It’s a piece of a much larger mosaic that, once completed, will make the park a choice destination for visitors and corporations alike.”
The company is planning a new upscale hotel and restaurant at the current Anna Louise Inn. In Deecember 2014, famed Cincinnati restaurateur Jean-Robert de Cavel announced that he would be creating a restaurant to go in Western & Southern's Queen City Square. The addition of these amenities will supplement a planned $33 million renovation of the I-71 tunnel near Lytle park and a $6 million plan for the park itself, financed by The Park Board, which will include more green space, a water wall to dampen highway noise and a playground for kids. By 2016, Lytle Park should be bustling with traffic from the street car, developers should be streaming in (moreso than they already are) and the neighborhood should be among the premiere places in the region.
Western & Southern has also been involved in the revitalization of Cincinnati's Over-The-Rhine and the restoration of its burgeoning arts scene through a 2015 challenge grant to ArtsWave. The company's motivation behind these investments and its ambitious actions in Lytle Park is to create a place where people and companies want to be. The hope is that Western & Southern, through its provision of high-quality office space and attractive dining, can attract a host of new businesses and corporate headquarters to the area.
Considering the city's momentum, and specifically Lytle Park’s proximity to walkable hotspots such as Great American Ballpark, The Banks, Fountain Square and the Gateway Quarter, the company’s efforts seem primed for success. If they do succeed, the city as a whole will benefit.
“This has been our home for more than a century,” says Barrett. “Our vision for Lytle Park is to offer the finest experience for people who come downtown. We believe Cincinnati is one of the best places in the country to live, work and visit, and we want other companies and visitors to experience it and move here. We want them to see our world-class city, see our vibrant arts and sports, learn of our top hospitals and universities and, most of all, realize the high caliber of educated and experienced people we have in our region.”
The Residence Inn by Marriott is located at 506 East Fourth Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. You can reach them at 513.651.1234 or visit their website at www.marriott.com.