As we continue to claw our way back from the financial crisis that’s weighed us down since 2008, we’re encouraged when we hear about major downtown projects that indicate renewed optimism in the marketplace. The hospitality industry has been fairly stagnant over the past decade, though we’ve seen some recent action when the Hotel Palomar opened in 2009. Hotel Monaco in Old City is set to open later this year.

Hotel Palomar

Future Hotel Monaco

Last week was the groundbreaking for the new 246 room Home2 Suites by Hilton at 12th and Arch Sts., a project we told you about six months ago. Though about $10M in government loans and grants are funding this project, another $50M of private capital makes up the difference. Just last week, we gave you the heads up about a boutique, 150 room hotel planned for East Chestnut Street.

And now, according to a thread on Philadelphia Speaks, another hotel is in the works, just down the street from City Hall. User Aro1419 contacted Starwood Hotels about a future W Hotel listed on their website, located at 1441 Chestnut St., with an expected opening date of January 2015. Representatives responded in the affirmative, which is good news indeed.

Currently a vacant lot

Residences at the Ritz Carlton, to the north

Provided this hotel gets built (not something that we’ll consider a guarantee until they break ground), the former site of One Meridian Plaza will finally be filled in and fully utilized for the first time in over two decades. For those unfamiliar with the story, One Meridian Plaza, an office building, caught fire in 1991, resulting in the tragic deaths of three firefighters. The blighted, unusable building remained until 1999, due to litigation. A surface parking lot was located here for seven years, until The Residences at the Ritz Carlton, completed in 2009, filled the other half of the lot.

Hopefully, downtown parking will get a little more difficult in the near future, when hotel construction begins and the remaining surface lot closes down for good.