The city of Kokomo says a new developer is on board for the major hotel and conference center project in the city’s downtown. MWA Kokomo LLC, led by Vincent Dora from Fishers-based Dora Hospitality Group, will now lead the project, which will include a six-story, 123-room Hilton Garden Inn and a 22,000-square-foot conference center that will feature the Kokomo Automotive Museum. Along with the new developer comes new additions to the project, including a four-level parking garage that will have 2,400-square-feet of retail space on the first floor.
The hotel will also now feature a public rooftop space on top of the building and the conference center will feature design improvements to tie it directly with Kokomo’s industrial history and also provide a larger space for the museum.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said finding a new developer was key because the project is important for the city.
"There are a lot of trade groups and different affiliations that have small conferences throughout the state and like to look at different venues and we think the unique location of Kokomo and its proximity to so many major areas, those two and three-day conferences will be attractive to Kokomo with a quality hotel and a quality conference center," said Goodnight. "It fits right into the center of the activity going on in downtown Kokomo."
Construction on the project is expected to begin this fall and be complete in the spring of 2021. The project initially had an estimated cost of $26 million, though the city did not provide any figures for the updated plans.
The original developer of the project was Dora Hotel Co. LLC, also based in Fishers, which Goodnight says is a separate company from Dora Hospitality Group.
Howard County Commissioner Paul Wyman says the project will be transformational for the community.
"The addition of the hotel/conference center and a new space for the auto museum will enable thousands of people to visit and experience the great things Kokomo and Howard County have to offer," Wyman said in a news release. "The addition of the parking garage will not only make it easier for guests of the Conference Center and those downtown for other events, it will also offer unique retail and restaurant opportunities. This whole project is going to be something really unique and enriching for our community."
Goodnight says finding a new developer was key because the project is important for the city.