Hotel, Convention Center Expansion Sparking Debate

Posted: Updated:

A group of hoteliers is speaking out against a bill that would fund the two proposed hotels in downtown Indianapolis. The $120 million project would add about 1,400 rooms between two new Hilton-branded hotels in addition to an expansion of the Indiana Convention Center. Dave Sibley, regional vice president of Merrillville-based White Lodging Services Inc., says the group is concerned about the number of rooms that will be added into the market as well as the infrastructure that goes along with them.

In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Sibley said the amount of new convention space doesn't justify the number of proposed hotel rooms. 

"We think there's way too many hotel rooms to begin with," said Sibley. "If you look from 2012 to 2018, there was 5.5 percent growth in the market. So we added 364 rooms downtown. We're now talking, in the next six years, of adding 2,741 rooms, or about the size of three J.W.s. We don't think that that's something that we can do in that short period of time."

Last month, Hilton (NYSE: HLT) announced that one of the new hotels would carry its new Signia Hilton brand. The brand is targeted toward meeting planners and others, and Visit Indy Vice President Chris Gahl tells Inside INdiana Business the expansion of hotel space and the convention center is about both keeping major conventions in Indy and bringing in new ones.

"Our research shows, and HVS has validated, that we will move from being able to bid to host 75 percent of the top 250 conventions in the nation to 82 percent of those being offered in the United States," said Gahl. "So it opens up our portfolio. We can open our stance and say, 'Hey, let's restart those discussions on those who did pass on hosting conventions in Indianapolis and those we didn't have room and space for previously."

Sibley said the hotels would like to meet with the city's Capital Improvement Board and Visit Indy to come up with a solution to solve everyone's problems.

  • Perspectives

    • Market Caps: What's in Your Portfolio?

      Investors understand the importance of having a proper balance of large-, mid-, and small-cap companies in their stock portfolios. Unfortunately, there are no strict rules followed by index funds when categorizing by company size. When you "check under the hood" of your portfolio, you may discover you’re taking more (or less) risk than you intended! What Is Market Cap? Market capitalization, or market cap, is a term used to represent the size of a company.



Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • Fishers Among Finalists For National Prize

      The city of Fishers is one of 12 finalists for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize. The award honors "communities that are bringing partners together around a shared commitment to health, opportunity, and equity."

    • (Image of planed West Lake Corridor Expansion of the South Shore commuter rail line provided by the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority.)

      South Shore Extension Moves Closer to Federal Funding

      The South Shore Line West Lake Corridor is a step closer to up to $440 million in federal funding, thanks to a positive project rating from the Federal Transit Administration. The "medium-high" rating means the project, which involves the extension of the South Shore Line between Dyer and Hammond, is eligible for funding to cover a large portion of the more than $700 million project. The rating came from the FTA's Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Report on Funding Recommendations...

    • (photo courtesy of our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      Indiana Leads U.S. Steel Production

      Indiana once again led the nation in steel production in 2018. Jake Murphy with the American Iron and Steel Institute tells our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana steel mills throughout the state made 26.7 million net tons of steel last year, up from 24.1 million in 2017. 

    • Hanna believes crews could begin "turning dirt" in 2020.

      Hanna: South Shore Project Hits 'Major, Major Milestone'

      The president of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority says the South Shore Line West Lake Corridor project will create a crucial "Hoosier gateway in Chicago." The more than $700 million project has received a positive project rating from the Federal Transit Administration, putting it a step closer to up to $440 million in federal funding. Bill Hanna says the rail extension will help Hoosier workers connect to jobs in Chicago that often pay more...

    • More Families Earn Hoosier Homestead Awards

      More than 50 families from throughout the state have been recognized for operating longstanding farms. Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch and State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler have presented the latest Hoosier Homestead Awards, recognizing farms owned by the same family for more than 100 consecutive years.