The renaissance of downtown Fort Wayne continues to roll on with a new $30 million boutique hotel designed by Vera Bradley Inc. (Nasdaq: VRA) co-founder Barbara Bradley Baekgaard. She decided to pursue her idea for The Bradley, which opened to the public last week, after retiring from Vera Bradley in 2017. “I’ve lived in Fort Wayne now for over 40 years and we were just missing that element of the city and I didn’t think there was anything that really represented who we were,” Baekgaard says.
Baekgaard gave Around INdiana Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman a tour of The Bradley before it opened.
“I was in the company every single day for 30 years, 35 years, and then as we got bigger and we hired other people to do some of the things that I did, I could get away a little more,” said Baekgaard. “So, then I started having these other ambitions, you know, like why not do it now?”
The Bradley features 124 guest rooms, nine suites, and a host of public spaces, including two restaurants and a rooftop bar. It was developed in partnership with Oregon-based Provenance, which owns and operates the hotel.
Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry says the hotel will bring a big impact to the city and its downtown.
“Barbara staying in town and her commitment to our city I think speaks volumes about her,” said Henry. “I’ve already talked to a number of CEOs who bring in important people to stay in our community for a few days. They’re very excited about this new offering.”
Baekgaard says she hopes The Bradley creates a lasting impact for the city and the visitors who stay at the hotel.
“I wanted something that when people were in here, they felt they knew where they were in Fort Wayne and then when they leave, they have a memory of Fort Wayne. That was one of my goals.”