Staff reports

Mayor Tom Henry today announced plans to bring a 125-room Hampton Inn & Suites hotel to downtown Fort Wayne.

The hotel would be located across West Jefferson Boulevard from the Grand Wayne Center and next to the Courtyard Fort Wayne Downtown. The site currently serves as a parking lot.

The project’s estimated cost is $20 million, and the hotel could open as soon as summer 2019, according to the announcement from the mayor’s office.

The hotel would be developed and operated by White Lodging Services Corp., the same developer that constructed Harrison Square’s 250-room Courtyard by Marriott. The Courtyard opened in the fall of 2010 and, at the time, plans called for a second hotel when the need was demonstrated.

“The city approached us with a vision for Harrison Square back in 2007 and has more than delivered on its commitment,” said Deno Yiankes, president and CEO of White Lodging’s investment and development division. “We are thrilled to once again team with the city in bringing another premium-branded hotel to the downtown market.”

The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission will consider a proposal for the new hotel today at its 4 p.m. meeting at Citizens Square. The commission will consider conveying the land and investing $500,000 in tax increment financing in the new hotel.

The commission would also be responsible for construction of a covered walkway from the hotel to the parking garage. Costs of the walkway have not been determined but are expected to be less than $250,000, according to the announcement.

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Capital Improvement Board will consider a proposal to commit up to $1.298 million to the hotel development at its Sept. 28 meeting at 7:30 a.m. in the Grand Wayne Center.

The hotel would be designed to support the Grand Wayne Center and its growing convention business as well as business and leisure travelers looking to be close to downtown amenities, according to the announcement.

A 2014 Grand Wayne Convention Center Strategic Analysis conducted by Hunden Partners showed a “critical” need for more downtown hotel rooms. The report states that the downtown Courtyard and Hilton together have fewer than 500 rooms and “this hinders the convention center’s ability to attract citywide events that draw more than 800 or 1,000 attendees.”

The report said that the addition of up to 300 downtown hotel rooms would meet previously unaccommodated demand and “this would benefit the city and the Grand Wayne Convention Center, continuing to enhance the downtown hospitality package.”

“An additional hotel for downtown is another indication that Fort Wayne is a point of destination for businesses and visitors,” Henry said. “Having more hotel capacity will enhance opportunities for the Grand Wayne Center and assist us in our efforts to continue to experience growth and momentum in our community.”