Middlegrounds Building to Become Boutique Hotel and More

Mixed-use Hotel Royal set to open in the spring

Toledo’s glorious architectural history surrounds us with nineteenth and early 20th century buildings, such as the Secor Hotel, the Nasby and Spitzer Buildings, the Commodore Perry and Fort Industry Square, among many others. More of these gems are being renovated and are now becoming part of our modern downtown landscape.

Erin Claussen, a Midwesterner living in Seattle, fell in love with Toledo’s architecture when she and her husband Greg moved here in 2015. She established her business, Toledo Revival, in 2017, applying her background in cultural resource management and historical archaeology to consulting projects for developers around this region. “I met lots of developers as I was involved in researching historic records,” she said. “All the nerdy background restoration work (is what) I love.”

Hotel on an island

Claussen and her husband live in the South End on River Road (in a 1923 Tudor Revival home that she’s renovating), and on her drives downtown, she noticed the Hotel Royal on Broadway. “It’s kind of on an island by itself, with a little park beside it,” she said. Facing Broadway and  bordered by Knapp St. and Central Union Plaza Drive, the Royal is near the Middlegrounds Metropark, the Amtrak Station and the High-Level Bridge, a near-downtown area that’s growing.

The circa 1895 building had always been a hotel, according to Claussen, and for a time was Toledo’s International Hostel Guest House. In its prime, Claussen said The Royal was a working-class hotel housing rail workers, due to its proximity to the train station. “There wasn’t much left inside when we got the place, but we’re taking our cues (for the new design) from the little traces that were here,” she said. “It will have a real vintage vibe.”

Changes inside and out

While the exterior of the building was in reasonably good shape, updates have been made including new windows, repainted masonry, a new roof and new sidewalks. “We’re leaving the ‘Hotel Royal” sign, but that needs some repair,” Claussen said.

Inside is where the transformation will be most dramatic. Claussen said the building will feature three apartments on the second and third floors, each over 1,200 sq. ft. Two of the apartments will be one story, facing Broadway. The third apartment is at the back of the building and will occupy both the second and third floors.

The first floor, facing Broadway St., will house commercial space, including Claussen’s office and her vintage home goods shop, Revival Flea. At the back of the first floor will be the pocket sized Hotel Royal – five hotel rooms and a small lobby – for overnight stays or short-term rentals. “I thought hospitality would be fun to try,” Erin explained.

Claussen said that in addition to the existing elements of the building she has incorporated salvaged items throughout the project. Exterior doors and cupboards from an early 1900s school in the Van Wert, Ohio, area have been used in the renovation of the property, and roof joists, made available when the roof was replaced, will be used to build bathroom vanities.

Opening soon!

Construction management on the project is from Ark Restoration, the project architect is Thomas Porter Architects and the design consultant is Noelle Schumer. Claussen said she jumped into this commercial project head first. “The building didn’t have many surprises, but it was a really strange time (in the middle of Covid) to be doing this. I rode out the weirdness and I have learned a lot about real estate.” She has utilized her husband’s business background on the project and has called on her historical research expertise to learn more about the building.

“We are really close to opening,” she said. “The essentials are nearly complete and now we’re adding the pretty stuff.” 

Plans are to be opened this spring – hotel and apartment information will be on their website soon, and on their Facebook and Instagram pages.