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Hotel Hustle

By PA

Fort Wayne Reader

2009-03-10


While construction moves ahead on Parkview Field, the downtown baseball home of the Fort Wayne Tin Caps, no dirt has been shoveled on the most important part of Harrison Square: the new hotel. To date, the proposed $20-million, 250-room Courtyard by Marriott is months behind schedule, adding fuel to the fires of Harrison Square-haters. But even fans of the development are anxious. The no-end-in-sight-delay on construction is making event planners nervous, since many are counting on those new hotel rooms for future convention bookings.

The problem has been financing. With the current global financial meltdown making it nearly impossible to get a loan for anything, White Lodging’s inability to secure funding for the hotel is plausible. However, the City of Fort Wayne’s apparent reluctance to hold the developer’s feet to the fire is causing grumbling even among the project’s supporters. No one has seriously suggested legal action against White Lodging, but a review of some of the concessions given to the developer might be in order.

While the new ball diamond has long been the most contentious part of the $130-million Harrison Square project, the hotel is actually the most critical part. Taxes generated by the hotel are supposed to finance major portions of the total development, including the ballpark.

Near our deadline for this issue, word came that White Lodging might be making progress on securing financing for the hotel. However, that progress isn’t money in the bank or a shovel in the ground just yet.

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