FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The opening of a new downtown hotel, owned by Vera Bradley co-founder Barbara Baekgaard, has been delayed. WANE 15 has also learned new details about what will be inside the building when it opens for guests.
Baekgaard spoke to the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne about the project Monday afternoon. She told the group of businesspeople that she expects the boutique hotel to open in July. It’s last target date was set in April, after the original October, 2020 goal. Baekgaard noted the past year’s impact on the project and told WANE 15 she wanted to make sure everything was ready to go when it officially opened.
“I want people to walk in and feel like it really is their hotel,” Baekgaard said. “This is a Fort Wayne hotel. There is no other like it. The artwork is local. We’re local. The manager moved here with his family. We’re just very excited about that. I think it’s going to feel like a new experience for Fort Wayne.”
Baekgaard revealed the name of the hotel’s rooftop bar will be Birdie’s. She told the Rotary Club a story about a grandchild spotting birds at her home, leading to her earning the Birdie nickname. A ground-level restaurant in the hotel will be known as Arbor, a tribute to Fort Wayne’s designation as a Tree City.
“I think that we have the best people and the best restaurants,” Baekgaard said about the city. “The cost of living here is incredible. We have good schools. So, when we recruit people to Fort Wayne, I want the final bow on the package at the end of their day, we drop them at a beautiful beautiful hotel and they have the memory of staying here. That was probably my main objective.”
The hotel will include 124 hotel rooms and nine suites. The hotel has already started getting calls from people looking to book space for events in the hotel.