Indy Lands Another Big Convention

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(rendering courtesy of the Capital Improvement Board) (rendering courtesy of the Capital Improvement Board)

Indianapolis has landed a major convention that planners say will bring a $30 million economic impact to the region in 2026.  Visit Indy Senior Vice President Chris Gahl says the convention, which will be identified later this month, has been a target for two decades.  Gahl says plans for two hotels and 1,400 rooms at Pan Am Plaza helped seal the deal. “We first started calling and knocking on the door of this major, city-wide convention in 1999 and it’s contingent really upon the expansion of the Indiana Convention Center and these two hotels.”

Gahl talked about the state of the convention and tourism sector on this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.

Indianapolis-based Kite Realty Group Trust was selected to build two hotels, including an 800-room Signia Hilton property at Pan Am Plaza, adding a total of 1,400 rooms to the downtown market.

In July, after opposition from a group of downtown hoteliers, led by White Lodging, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced plans to change the framework of the $120 million project. 

The new schedule calls for the expansion of the convention center first, followed by the 800-room Signia Hilton. A second, 600-room hotel would follow, based on “market demand.”

Gahl says Visit Indy is not concerned about the delay. “We’re relieved that the expansion and the first hotel, the larger of the two, will go forward, that will keep us healthy. We’re anxious on the timeline of how that will change for the second (hotel).  We feel confident on our research that we can supply enough conventions to fill both, but ultimately we’re supportive of the mayor and the decision made and it will get us through the short term.”

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