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Tuesday, January 11 2011

The Evansville City Council has unanimously voted to support a development agreement for a new hotel in the downtown area. Woodruff Hospitality was selected to build the $32 million Hyatt Place, which will be located adjacent to the new Evansville Arena. The hotel is expected to include 220 rooms and more than 300 parking spots.

Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel applauds City Council’s unanimous vote this evening in support of a resolution affirming the Evansville Redevelopment Commission’s decision to move forward with an agreement to develop a new
hotel in downtown Evansville adjacent to the new Evansville Arena and The Centre.

“I appreciate City Council’s leadership in pushing this vitally important project to the next level,” said Mayor Weinzapfel. “A hotel of this caliber is essential to the continued revitalization of downtown Evansville and to our community’s ability to most effectively market The Centre and the new Evansville Arena to convention, trade show and event planners, not to mention tourists of all kinds.”

As Mayor Weinzapfel announced on December 21, 2010, the City is ready to finalize an agreement with Evansville firm Woodruff Hospitality to develop a new $32 million Hyatt Place hotel with 220 guest rooms and suites, as well as banquet and meeting facilities to complement those at The Centre.

“Not only is this a positive step for our community, but it’s shaping up to be a good deal financially, especially when compared to the incentives other communities have offered for similar projects. Plus, this project will create hundreds of good paying jobs during construction over the next year and its subsequent operation," Weinzapfel said at the time.

The agreement will stipulate that the hotel site include at least 305 parking spaces for its operation. Those spaces will also be available for arena functions. The developer will be responsible for all operating and other expenses of the new hotel and parking facility, as well as for the demolition of what remains of the former Executive Inn and its parking garage. If for some reason it is less expensive or otherwise more logical for the City to undertake the
demolition of the former Executive Inn, the incentives will be adjusted accordingly.

The City is in a position to offer public incentives not to exceed $3,500,000 from downtown economic development funds pledged by Casino Aztar; up to $4,500,000 in loans supported by the downtown TIF, not general property taxes; and up to a 10-year property tax phase-in schedule as allowable by law. In comparison, Fort Wayne officials provided a parking facility and more than $1 million for infrastructure improvements, an annual subsidy of $250,000 for at least 10 years, $6 million worth of income tax credits, the construction of a skywalk, and other incentives to spur the development of a new nationally-affiliated hotel near the new baseball stadium in downtown Fort Wayne.

The local development agreement will call for the utilization of local workers and the hiring of local construction companies, engineers and architects to the fullest extent possible. The City also will request that local minority- and women-owned businesses be utilized for a total of 21% of the work.

The development agreement is based on the responses to the initial request for proposals the Evansville Redevelopment Commission (ERC) issued in September to solicit concepts for the development, design and construction of a new hotel and determine the type and amount of public incentives that would be necessary for such a development in the current economic climate.

Woodruff Hospitality was one of four respondents to the initial RFP. Responses were also received from Browning Hotel Associates LLC (Indianapolis), White Lodging Services Corporation (Merrillville) and The Kunkel Group (Evansville), which joined Woodruff in its bid
for the hotel project shortly after the responses were received.

The ERC endorsed these incentives at its meeting on January 3, 2011, and will incorporate them into its final request for proposals for the hotel development as required by State law. The ERC
will consider all responses it receives to its RFP and expects a final agreement to be concluded in March 2011.

Woodruff Hospitality was formed approximately five years ago to acquire, renovate and manage hotel properties. Martin Woodruff, also a State Farm Insurance agent, is Woodruff Hospitality’s
majority owner and principle; and Jeff Stratton is Vice President of Finance. Woodruff Hospitality has engaged Evansville-based Landmark Design & Engineering, Inc., owned by David Stallings, to work with Hyatt corporate officials to design and engineer the new hotel facility.

Source: City of Evansville & Inside INdiana Business

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:55 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

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