The director of the Downtown Alliance in Evansville says the next five-to-seven years will be a "building boom" in the city. Joshua Armstrong says there is $250 million in active construction happening, including the ongoing Indiana University School of Medicine project, the $61 million DoubleTree by Hilton and more than 140 housing units. He says the city also has big plans for the former Old National Bank Building, now known as The 420 Building, including luxury condos, commercial space and retail.
Armstrong says housing remains a major focus of downtown development. The city’s five-to-seven year plan includes 500 additional units of housing. He says the occupancy rate for apartments in downtown Evansville is 99 percent, meaning more options will be needed as new students come to the area. Crews broke ground in 2015 on the medical school campus, which will also include University of Southern Indiana, University of Evansville and Ivy Tech Community College programs.
Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says the recently-opened Double Tree Hilton hotel puts the city back in the convention business. It is connected by a sky bridge to the Ford Center and Old National Events Plaza and is located next to the med school campus. He says that, along with the planned $25 million to renovate The 420 Building, will allow people to see the city "through a different lens."
Armstrong says the move of the Tropicana Casino to the Ohio River shore is a major boon for the city. The $50 million project will include new gaming space, dining and entertainment offerings. It is expected to open in December. The Indiana Gaming Commission approved plans last year for the Tropicana to become the state’s first land-based casino. The city of Evansville has approved $20 million in lease rent credits that will keep the attraction in Vanderburgh County through at least 2055.