The popular former Longaberger basket, visible from Ohio 16 in Newark, is in the process of becoming a luxury boutique hotel.
Steve Coon, founder and president of Coon Restoration and Sealants as well as part owner of the basket at 1500 East Main Street, is currently working to get the basket on the National Register. Being on that list will make it eligible for state and federal historic tax credits.
That step is vital to move forward on a timeline. If all goes as planned, the project will start around June, and is expected to take about 18 months to complete.
“It’s probably one of the most unique buildings in the world,” Coon said. “Where else can you find a 185,000 square foot basket from the interstate?”
The seven-story building will look exactly the same from the outside, Coon said. However, the spaces inside will be repurposed for 150 rooms, meeting rooms and an entertainment venue for events. Rooms will both look out and into the atrium.
“It still looks like the day it was built. All the cherry wood in that facility was all grown on Dave Longaberger’s farm,” Coon said. “They built this thing like the White House.”
It’s too soon to say how much Coon and other partners will invest in the redevelopment, he said, awaiting to see what kind of tax credits will be available.
“It will probably be one of the coolest hotels in America,” he said.