COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A new hotel that its developers said captures the essence of the city is coming to downtown Columbus.

Junto, a boutique-style hotel, has been in the works since 2021. Developers said it is the first of its kind and something Columbus desperately needs.

Jim Merkel, responsible for the hospitality leg of the hotel’s development, said Columbus is growing from the inside out.

“Columbus is a growing city,” he said. “It’s the biggest small town in the country.”

He said the idea for the Junto Hotel was born with growth in mind, but it isn’t just any hotel. Columbus hasn’t seen one like it yet.

Once completed, it will be Columbus’ first independent lifestyle hotel, something Merkel’s company has been doing a lot of lately.

“It’s really a hotel that’s a little bit more thoughtfully designed because you don’t have a national brand to tell you what to do,” Merkel said. “You are designing it for the community and for the city, and the opportunity for the city, whether we like it or not, people judge the city on their experiences when they come to visit, and these hotels have popped up all over the country because they’re representative of the local community.”

The 141,000-square-foot building sits at 77 Belle Street, across from COSI and the bridge from the National Veterans Memorial and Museum. It will have 198 rooms, a restaurant called the Little West Tavern, a rooftop bar called the Brass Eye, and a coffee shop called Maudine’s, named for Ohio State University’s 1926 homecoming queen, a cow.

The Junto Hotel is set to open in May.