The City of Fort Wayne announced its plans to build what Mayor Tom Henry calls a “boutique hotel” downtown.
Henry stated his ambitions for the hotel during his “State of the City” address in February. The cost of the hotel is estimated at $22.7 million.
The 125-unit complex, which would occupy the northwest corner of Harrison and Main, was the vision of Vera Bradley co-founder Barbara Baekgaard.
“I just really wanted a place in Fort Wayne that we’d all be proud of and maybe just one notch above what we have,” said Baekgaard. “So this is my dream, to see this fulfilled.”
The hotel calls for five floors, as well as restaurants, retail spaces and a rooftop space for entertainment.
Provenance Hotels is joining Vera Bradley in the effort. Bashar Wali is the CEO of Provenance, and scoffed at the “boutique hotel” label; he says the goal of the hotel will be to serve not just visitors, but Northeast Indiana residents as well.
“We want everyone in this city to feel the hotel is their home, come have a coffee, come have a meeting, come have dinner, stay the night, put up guests there for a night,” Wali said.
“Our goal is to have it truly become the living room of Fort Wayne.”
Mayor Henry says the plans add to the city’s vision of making Fort Wayne a “point of destination,” adding the building could be “transformational.”
“It would truly add to the venue of investments downtown that will attract more and more people to visit our community and ultimately, call downtown home,” said Henry.
Proposals for funding will be issued to the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, Capital Improvement Board and Indiana Economic Development Corporation, which the city projects will be approved before the end of this year.
Ground could be broken as early as next spring, with a grand opening of mid-2019.
According to data compiled by a national hotel research firm, Allen County hit an all-time monthly record in August for hotel and motel room occupancy of 77.3 percent. That’s an increase of more than 7% over the previous year.