Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Another Study for Hotel Site Downtown Plan Revisited

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Another Study for Hotel Site Downtown Plan Revisited

Article excerpt

Development of a Downtown convention hotel headed back to the drawing board Wednesday morning as the Evansville Redevelopment Commission authorized a new feasibility study and analysis of the project. The commission by a 3-to-2 vote approved spending roughly $40,000 to hire a Chicago firm to determine what size hotel should be built, what level of service it should provide and what should be the amount of city investment in the project.

The proposed hotel, to be built at Walnut Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, would serve the nearby Ford Center and The Centre convention center.

The study, sought by Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, was awarded to Hunden Strategic Partners, which last year conducted a $30,000 analysis that said a $33 million, 220-room hotel proposed by the Kunkel Group was financially viable.

City Council appointees to the Redevelopment Commission, Stan Wheeler and Jay Carter, voted against conducting another study, while Winnecke appointees Ed Hafer Jr., Randall K. Alsman and Sara L. Miller supported it.

Second Ward Councilwoman Missy Mosby urged the commission to forgo the study.

"We've done enough studies on this project, and it was already voted through City Council last year," Mosby said. "It's time to build a hotel."

The study is expected to take about two months.

Rob Hunden, president of Hunden Strategic Partners, said the study would encompass 13 tasks that include perspectives such as tourism, the convention industry, regional competition and a meeting planner survey. The study also would provide a cost estimate, investment return and economic impact.

Some examples of variables to the hotel project that were not explored included what plans Casino Aztar has to renovate its aging hotel and the possibility of the revival of Hotel McCurdy, Hunden said.

The progress of Interstate 69 toward Evansville also is an issue. …

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