Work on Salem Holiday Inn begins nearly 2 years after first proposed

SALEM – Back in May of 2012 when plans for a $4 million Holiday Inn Express on the east side of town were announced, Rod Herron, a co-owner of the facility with the Bridgeville, Pa.-based Forza Group, was looking at opening it that December.

It will be situated on 1.25-acres of east-end property just southwest of The Home Depot and east of Cunningham Road in Mahoning County.

Just after the original plans were announced it was derailed by an easement issue with The Home Depot store adjacent to the hotel property to the northeast came up.

The home improvement chain denied an easement based on deed restrictions, stating the hotel is not a “retail” business.

The existing 20-foot sewer easement granted to the city was too small as plans called for a 35-foot easement to accommodate the Holiday Inn while addressing anticipated development to the north.

The issue was eventually was resolved by simply purchasing another 1.3 acres south of the original site, Herron said, and moving the building footprint to the south.

Then, the southern edge of the original site became the northern edge of the new site and it allowed the Holiday Inn Express developers to put in bigger parking spaces, Herron said at the time.

“We were able to gain more full-sized parking spaces,” he said, adding the site plans are complete and awaiting engineer and city approvals.

Everyone was breathing easier on Thursday when a formal ground-breaking ceremony was held for the three-story, 70-room, multi-million dollar hotel.

While representatives of the Forza Group, city officials and members of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce posed with ceremonial shovels Less Contracting was already trucking in fill dirt to the site from behind the Home Depot store.

The hotel will employ 25 people and is set to be “fast tracked” based on projected lodging shortages tied to the shale boom, Larry Kosiba, executive director of the Sustainable Opportunity Development Center, said earlier.

The Holiday Inn Express operating sometime around October.