News

February 7, 2015
Revamped Granville Inn Taking Shape
Newark Advocate

The wood paneling in the first-floor lobby, hallway and former dining room is still covered for protection.

There are yards and yards of new drywall panels yet to be painted, and many a plywood floor awaiting carpeting or tile.

A new 5- by 6-foot elevator is taking shape where part of the kitchen used to be.

The Granville Inn is still crawling with construction and skilled trades personnel. Yet, architects’ and interior decorators’ visions of a completely renovated Granville landmark are slowly emerging.

“Each day the inn is going to take a bit of a different shape,” said Christopher Bee, vice president of food and beverage with Columbus Hospitality Management, which will run the popular central Ohio dining and lodging destination for its new owner, Denison University. “The new inn is really going to start to take on its new personality.”

Bee added, “We’re doing everything we can to meet the original schedule, which was April 1. We’re looking, hopefully, at mid to late April.”

That’s when, he confirmed, the Denison board of trustees plan to hold a meeting, with trustees possibly becoming the inn’s first overnight guests in a soft opening.

The 91-year-old inn closed early last August for the $9 million renovation, after Denison purchased it in the fall of 2013.

A major accomplishment with the project is the new construction on the third floor where nine rooms are being added in what was attic space, bringing the total number to 39 including three suites.The third-floor roof was raised and four dormers were added in the process.

Previously existing second-floor rooms above the former carriage house, in a building first constructed as part of the Granville Female College during the mid 1800s, were all taken down to the studs as part of the revamp, said Tim LePontois, the inn’s current director of sales and its future director of food and beverages.

The carriage house, also in the original college building and behind a stone wall at the end of the main driveway and parking area, looks less like a former garage and more like the banquet facility it is to become, with room for 50 to 60 people, LePontois said. The three carriage house doors will open into a walled courtyard where tables with umbrellas are likely to be found in season.

Access to the carriage house from the lobby will be down a ramp that will double as the inn’s new handicap-access entry through a door from the courtyard, LePontois said.

Nearby will be the refurbished kitchen that will serve the tavern and restaurant, and a second kitchen has been fashioned in the rear for banquet catering in what has been known as the Great Hall, LePontois said. Bee said kitchen electrical and plumbing is currently being installed.

“That’s going to be an exciting day when all the kitchen equipment shows up,” Bee said.

The new elevator, meanwhile, displaces part of the kitchen and will be accessible from the lobby near its turn into the main hallway leading to the former Acorn Pub and the Great Hall. Also accessible from the lobby will be two new restrooms, including one for men, a demographic that had been relegated to the basement previously.

The Great Hall will be almost unrecognizable, according to an artist’s rendering. The ceiling will be higher down the middle, while ducts on either side will bring it down to its approximate former height, LePontois said.

“Everything in there is going to be brand new or reconditioned,” he said.

The adjacent Gallery Room used for small group events, accessible from both the Great Hall and main hallway, will remain intact, he said.

Most of the exterior work including cleaning of the stone and stucco replacement has been completed, Bee said.

The frame for the front canopy has yet to be taken down, which means patio dining there will be open-air, with new shrubbery to be added for screening.

“From archiving and everything we’ve seen there never was an awning there,” Bee explained. “We’ve done a lot and continue to make sure we’re staying true to the original early 20th century architecture.”

Bee projected the inn will employ as many as 90 after it reopens, with 35 to 40 percent of the positions part-time. He said jobs would start to be posted by early March.