Officials in Fort Wayne have detailed plans for a new boutique hotel in the city’s downtown. The nearly $28 million, five-story hotel will feature 125 rooms, restaurants, ground-level retail spaces and a rooftop entertainment space.
The hotel is being developed by Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, co-founder of Fort Wayne-based Vera Bradley (Nasdaq: VRA), and Oregon-based Provenance Hotels. Baekgaard will oversee the interior design of the hotel.
"For years, I’ve dreamed of bringing colleagues to Fort Wayne and providing them with a memorable experience, something unique to our community," said Baekgaard. "Northeast Indiana has so much to offer, and our visitors and residents are well-traveled, they deserve a hotel that captures the spirit of the region and reflects our values."
The hotel proposal will be considered by various local government agencies. The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission will next week consider a proposal to invest $4 million in tax increment financing, which will reimburse loans from the Allen County Commissioners, the city of Fort Wayne and the Capital Improvement Board. The CIB and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. will also consider requests to invest in the hotel.
If the project receives all of the necessary approvals, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry’s office says construction could begin in early 2019 and open as soon as mid-2019.
The addition of a boutique hotel was included in a 2014 Grand Wayne Convention Center Strategic Analysis, which said there was a "critical" need for more downtown hotel space. The analysis said up to 300 downtown hotel rooms were needed.
"I’m grateful to Barbara and Provenance Hotels for their plans to invest in Fort Wayne and bring us a hotel that will rival specialty hotels around the world," Henry said in a news release. "Their vision will complement the exciting things happening throughout our community, such as riverfront development, and will continue to make Fort Wayne a point of destination for businesses and visitors."
Provenance owns nine boutique hotels throughout the country. The mayor’s office says each of the hotels received 2017 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.