FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A new hotel will be built in downtown Fort Wayne.
Hampton Inn & Suites announced Monday it plans to build a 125-room hotel along West Jefferson Boulevard, across from the Grand Wayne Convention Center between the Courtyard by Marriott and Parkview Field. The site is currently a parking lot.
The hotel is expected to open as early as summer 2019.
The new development - a $20 million project - will allow for expanded opportunities in downtown Fort Wayne, Mayor Tom Henry said at a press conference Monday.
"An additional hotel for downtown is another indication that Fort Wayne is a point of destination for businesses and visitors," said Henry. "Having more hotel capacity will enhance opportunities for the Grand Wayne Center and assist us in our efforts to continue to experience growth and momentum in our community."
A Grand Wayne Convention Center Strategic Analysis conducted in 2014 showed a "critical" need for more downtown hotel rooms. That report showed that the fewer-than 500 rooms between the downtown Courtyard and Hilton "hinders the convention center's ability to attract citywide events that draw more than 800 or 1,000 attendees." The report suggested up to 300 downtown hotel were in demand.
When the Courtyard by Marriott opened in fall 2010, plans called for a second hotel when the need was demonstrated.
That time is apparently now.
The Hampton Inn & Suites would be developed and operated by White Lodging Services Corporation, the same developer that constructed Harrison Square's 250-room Courtyard by Marriott.
"The City approached us with a vision for Harrison Square back in 2007 and has more than delivered on its commitment," said Deno Yiankes, President & CEO of White Lodging's Investment & Development division. "We are thrilled to once again team with the City in bringing another premium-branded hotel to the downtown market."
Yiankes said the new hotel would be at least 25% suite-style rooms. It won't have a big bar or restaurant like Champions, nor banquet halls. "It's meant to to handle the diverse demand that we have downtown. Whether its a family coming for an event at Parkview or business people coming during the week we think will be able to accommodate really a broad spectrum of travelers. "
Dan O'Conell, President and CEO of Visit Fort Wayne, said it allows Fort Wayne to offer national groups space for bigger conventions. "A lot of national groups also organize their regionals. We've had several express interest in us as a facility but the room count isn't high enough for them to actually pick us."
The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission will consider a proposal for the new hotel at its regular meeting later Monday at Citizens Square. Then, on Sept. 28, the Fort Wayne-Allen County Capital Improvement Board will consider support for the hotel at its meeting.
During its meeting, the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission will consider conveying the land and investing $500,000 in Tax Increment Financing in the new hotel. The Commission would also be responsible for construction of a covered walkway from the hotel to the parking garage; costs of the walkway have not been determined but are expected to be less than $250,000.
The Capital Improvement Board will consider a proposal to commit up to $1.298 million to the hotel development.
NewsChannel 15's Sara Schaefer will have more on this development coming up on WANE-TV.