In a true community-style groundbreaking ceremony, the construction of a downtown boutique hotel was celebrated Friday.
“It’s been my dream forever… to make the city better.”
Friday was Barb Baekaard’s day. After three years of talk, work officially started on her dream hotel in the heart of Fort Wayne.
“It’s great,” Baekaard said. “I love it. I love the people.”
It has taken conversations with leaders from the city, county and state levels for use of the land, tax credits and everything in between.
“These aren’t strangers on a project,” she explained. “These are all people that really have their heart in it. so, I love them all.”
“Truly the community here, I can’t say it enough, we’re sort of tainted by the coasts, where people couldn’t make the time for you. Look at this groundbreaking and the amount of people who came out,” Bashar Wali, the president of Provenance Hotels said. “It’s truly special.”
When it’s done, the hotel will stand five stories tall, with 124 rooms, retail space down along the street and a bar up on the roof. It’s a design that’s promised to have the feel of the Summit City, instead of the look of a chain hotel. Coined at the groundbreaking as ‘the living room of Fort Wayne,’ the design is inspired by Baekaard’s own home. She gave WANE 15’s Alyssa Ivanson a tour. You can see that here: https://www.wane.com/news/local-news/exclusive-inside-barbara-baekgaard-s-design-philosophy/2041766276
“People talk a lot about story telling,” Wali added. “What a way to tell a story is to building something for the community of the community from the community, rather than throwing another flag in the ground from a big company.”
Baekgaard hopes to open late next year. Her eyes are on 10/10/2020. She also hopes it will serve as another tribute to her mother.
“Her maiden name was Fox,” she explained. “Vera Fox Bradley. I want some variation of Fox. The Fox on Main is my first choice.”