The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, January 09, 2018 1:00 am

Hotel at ballpark plans go to panel

Planning board will vote Jan. 22

DAVE GONG | For The Journal Gazette

In two weeks, the Fort Wayne Plan Commission will decide whether to approve the primary development plan for a new hotel downtown near Parkview Field and Grand Wayne Center.

The plan for the 136-room, seven-story Hampton Inn & Suites calls for ground-floor retail and a rooftop bar overlooking the baseball field. The hotel will be operated by White Lodging, which runs the adjoining Courtyard by Marriott. The guest rooms will face either north toward Jefferson Boulevard or south toward the ballpark. About one-third of those rooms will be suites. 

City officials announced plans for the new hotel in September. It's one of two new hotels planned for downtown, the other being a boutique hotel planned for Main and Harrison streets.

Under the proposed plan, the Hampton Inn will feature a walkway and green space for guests to use to enter and exit the building to the east and north of the current retaining wall, architect David Rausch told the commission Monday. 

“Currently, it's all asphalt,” Rausch said. “We do envision that to be sort of converted to more of a park-like setting because there won't be any vehicular activity in that area.” 

Rausch also said there's an opportunity to add a whimsical element to the building in the form of a three-dimensional sculpture of a baseball crashing into the facade of the hotel near the planned rooftop bar. 

Although the Plan Commission will consider approval of the primary development plan Jan. 22, the City Council will discuss a tax abatement application for the hotel at its meeting tonight. 

Under that application, the hotel project is expected to create 23 full-time jobs with an average annual salary of $33,565, as well as six part-time jobs with an average annual salary of $32,166. 

The total project cost is estimated at $17.8 million.

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