Evansville Company Lands Downtown Hotel

Weinzapfel says the announcement is "is another tremendous step forward in the revitalization of downtown Evansville and the enhancement of Evansville’s position as a destination for conventions, trade shows and tourism of all kinds."

updated: 12/21/2010 11:59:05 AM

[UPDATED] Evansville Company Lands Downtown Hotel

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

Evansville-based Woodruff Hospitality has been chosen to to build a new downtown hotel in the southern Indiana city. The Hyatt Place hotel will have 220 rooms and add more than 300 parking spaces to the downtown area.

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Merrillville-based White Lodging and Browning Hotel Associates had also submitted proposals for the project.

The Hyatt Place is expected to go on the site of the parking garage of the old Executive Inn.

December 21, 2010

News Release

(EVANSVILLE, IN) – December 21, 2010 – Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel announced this morning that the City is ready to finalize an agreement with Evansville firm Woodruff Hospitality to develop a new $32 million hotel adjacent to the new Evansville arena and The Centre. This new Hyatt Place hotel will include 220 guest rooms and suites, as well as banquet and meeting facilities to complement those at The Centre.

“This is another tremendous step forward in the revitalization of downtown Evansville and the enhancement of Evansville’s position as a destination for conventions, trade shows and tourism of all kinds,” said Weinzapfel. “Not only is this a positive step for our community, but it’s shaping up to be a good deal financially, especially when compared to the incentives other communities have offered for similar projects. Plus, this project will create hundreds of good paying jobs during construction over the next year and its subsequent operation."

The agreement will stipulate that the hotel site include at least 305 parking spaces for its operation. Those spaces will also be available for arena functions. The developer will be responsible for all operating and other expenses of the new hotel and parking facility, as well as for the demolition of what remains of the former Executive Inn and its parking garage. If for some reason it is less expensive or otherwise more logical for the City to undertake the demolition of the former Executive Inn, the incentives will be adjusted accordingly.

The City is in a position to offer public incentives not to exceed $3,500,000 from downtown economic development funds pledged by Casino Aztar; up to $4,500,000 in loans supported by the downtown TIF, not general property taxes; and up to a 10-year property tax phase-in schedule as allowable by law. In comparison, Fort Wayne officials provided a parking facility and more than $1 million for infrastructure improvements, an annual subsidy of $250,000 for at least 10 years, $6 million worth of income tax credits, the construction of a skywalk, and other incentives to spur the development of a new nationally-affiliated hotel near the new baseball stadium in downtown Fort Wayne.

The local development agreement will call for the utilization of local workers and the hiring of local construction companies, engineers and architects to the fullest extent possible. The City also will request that local minority- and women-owned businesses be utilized for a total of 21% of the work.

The development agreement is based on the responses to the initial request for proposals the Evansville Redevelopment Commission (ERC) issued in September to solicit concepts for the development, design and construction of a new hotel and determine the type and amount of public incentives that would be necessary for such a development in the current economic climate.

Woodruff Hospitality was one of four respondents to the initial RFP. Responses were also received from Browning Hotel Associates LLC (Indianapolis), White Lodging Services Corporation (Merrillville) and The Kunkel Group (Evansville), which joined Woodruff in its bid for the hotel project shortly after the responses were received.

In January, the ERC is expected to endorse these incentives and to incorporate them into its final request for proposals for the hotel development as required by State law. Additionally, the City Council will be requested to indicate its support of the project incentives. The ERC will consider all responses it receives to its RFP and expects a final agreement to be concluded in March 2011.

Woodruff Hospitality was formed approximately five years ago to acquire, renovate and manage hotel properties. Martin Woodruff, also a State Farm Insurance agent, is Woodruff Hospitality’s majority owner and principle; and Jeff Stratton is Vice President of Finance. Woodruff Hospitality has engaged Evansville-based Landmark Design & Engineering, Inc., owned by David Stallings, to work with Hyatt corporate officials to design and engineer the new hotel
facility.

Source: City of Evansville


Source: Evansville Courier & Press

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