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Business   |   Government

One-Of-A-Kind Hotel Proposed For Downtown Fort Wayne

Mayor Tom Henry joined Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, representatives from Provenance Hotels, elected officials and community leaders today to announce a proposal to bring a 125-room boutique hotel to downtown Fort Wayne.

The $27.7 million one-of-a-kind specialty hotel would be located on City of Fort Wayne property at the northwest corner of Harrison and Main streets. The project was selected by a team of City of Fort Wayne and community leaders after issuing a request for proposals. Plans call for five floors, restaurants, ground-level retail spaces and a rooftop entertainment space.

“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,” said Mayor Henry. “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.”

Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, co-founder of Vera Bradley, is working closely with Provenance Hotels’ Bashar Wali and his team to bring an upscale, unique hotel to her community. Provenance owns nine boutique hotels, each of which received 2017 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, and just last week added a tenth property to the portfolio. Baekgaard will oversee the interior design of the distinctive 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 Barbara Bradley 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.”

“We couldn’t be more delighted to have had this opportunity to work with visionaries like Barbara and the leaders at the city, county and state level who have helped vet this project and move it forward,” added Bashar Wali, President of Provenance Hotels. “What they are creating in this community is very special and we look forward to going all-in to craft a world-class hotel that reflects the Fort Wayne community.”

Local government agencies will consider the proposal for the hotel at upcoming meetings. The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission will consider a proposal to invest just under $4 million in tax increment financing at its November 13 meeting. The TIF dollars will reimburse loans from the Allen County Commissioners, the City of Fort Wayne and the Capital Improvement Board. The TIF funding is generated by property taxes paid by the new hotel, funding that would not be available if the hotel was not built.

The Capital Improvement Board will also consider a request to invest in the hotel, as will the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. All necessary approvals should take place by the end of the year with construction to begin in early 2018. The specialty hotel could open as soon as mid-2019.

A 2014 Grand Wayne Convention Center Strategic Analysis conducted by Hunden Partners showed a “critical” need for more downtown hotel rooms. The report went on to state that up to 300 downtown hotel rooms are needed and recommended adding a boutique hotel to fill an upscale niche market.