by Sue Serdinak
Going back three decades, Richfield Village elected officials recognized the importance of securing properties on Wheatley Road to avoid a hodgepodge of development.
The village fought off several proposals to build fast-food restaurants on small parcels along the highly traveled strip, located just off I-77.
Through several administrations, the village bought most individual parcels in the area as owners were ready to sell. Throughout the years, there has been a search for a group to develop some of the land.
In 2012, the village developed the Crossroads District Plan in collaboration with the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation study to stress the importance of the connection between the highway and Richfield Village. With this plan in place, the village took more steps to commercially develop the properties they had acquired.
At the August 15 village council meeting, council approved selling three acres to Riley Hotel Group for $450,000. Representing the group, President Joe Moffa and Roman Paich said they plan to build a Hilton hotel, under the franchise name Hampton Inn, on the site. They plan to purchase two additional acres from the village and build a restaurant and convention center. The proposed price of the two additional acres was not set.
The hotel complex will be on the south side of Wheatley Road, across from McDonald’s.
Moffa said the Riley Hotel Group has been in business for 15 years; they manage nine hotels in Ohio and 25 around the country.
“The restaurant conceptual design shows a coffee/breakfast place with lunch and then a rooftop restaurant that would overlook the area … and an event center for about 200 folks,” said Moffa. “The demographics show the area needs it.”
Planning and Zoning Director Brian Frantz said that he and his assistant, Amy Nauer, have been working on the project for about 14 months. ∞
Photo: Riley Hotel Group is purchasing three acres on the south side of Wheatley Road to build a hotel, restaurant and event center. The site is directly across from the McDonald’s restaurant. The map shows conceptual ideas for the development of all of the property on the south side of Wheatley Road. Map courtesy of Richfield Village.