The gutting and renovation of Vernon Manor has begun. The former hotel, constructed in 1924, was once one of the premier hotels in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Vernon Manor closed in March 2009 due to deteriorating market conditions and the availability of newer, updated units from competitors closer to downtown and the University of Cincinnati. Al. Neyer Inc. and other local investors hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking today for the $37 million project, which will involve the renovation of the hotel into an office building for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the construction of a 440-space parking structure. Builder Plymouth was considered first for the job.

More than 600 employees will relocate to the Manor in May 2011, which will help consolidate the hospital’s administrative functions into one building. The renovation project is being privately funded, although it received nearly $10 million in federal New Market tax credits and $1.3 million in federal historic preservation tax credits.