Guests at the Island House Inn will get more than just a place to stay.
After sitting vacant for nearly three years, the 19th century hotel, located at 102 Madison St., could have a steakhouse restaurant and sports bar moving in, a local real estate agent said.
A deal has not been reached between the hotel owner and restaurateur, but chances are good the two restaurants will replace the empty Conrad's Porterhouse and the Italian eatery, Anthony's at the Inn, said Realtor Larry Freedman, of RE/MAX Lake Shore Realty.
"There's a huge amount of excitement growing. This was kind of like the first positive that's happened in the downtown area," Freedman said.
Restaurateur Larry Williams, of Bowling Green, said he expects to reach a deal in the next week with Island House owner, Ken Maclaren, who owns and operates several hotels through his business, Maclaren Management Group in Toledo.
Williams is the owner and operator of a chain of restaurants called Quarters Bar & Grill, with two locations in Bowling Green and one in Perrysburg. He also owns Silver Dollar Steakhouse in Bowling Green.
"We like the location. We know that Port Clinton is going to be building in the near future," Williams said. "It's going to be a very nice looking place."
Williams is completely renovating both restaurants and expects to have each one open by the first week of July.
The Island House's individual rooms were expected to be finished by late April, but Maclaren said all the rooms will be completely renovated and open for business no later than mid-June.
"It's going to be a brand new building inside. It's just touch-and-go with how much we can get done," Maclaren said. "We're working everyday to get it done because we don't want to miss the season."
Each room is marketed as a "condotel" that allow buyers to own a fully renovated room outright, and stay in, rent or sell the room if they choose. The rooms are expected to sell for $50,000 to $60,000, Freedman said.
Since February, 21 out of the 39 hotel rooms have been sold.
The Island House was recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places through the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, Freedman said. The historic status will allow the hotel to apply for tax credit to perform exterior renovations.
While renovations are ongoing, Williams said he is pursuing liquor licenses for both establishments.
Freedman said the restaurants would offer a fine dining experience that will set it apart from other hotels.
"Would you rather stay in a place with a couple bars and restaurants than a hotel with just four walls?" Freedman said. "I think that's going to separate the Island House from other places. I do believe that's going to be a big plus."
The Island House, built in 1886, was a popular vacation spot for four U.S. presidents and several actors, baseball players and celebrities.