Of course, last year Indianapolis' City-County Council approved a hike in hotel taxes to give Indianapolis the highest hotel/sales tax in the country. Now the concern is being sounded that Indianapolis may not be able to fill its downtown hotel rooms when the new Marriott came on line. Gee, who could have seen that coming?
Indianapolis - It's the largest hotel in the state. The new JW Marriott is set to open in early 2011, but it's already raising some concerns about keeping it and other hotels full in a struggling economy.
If you're downtown, you can't miss it. Construction crews recently topped off the new JW Marriott and they're just a couple of months from finishing the three other Marriott hotels, which open in February.
"We've already booked those up for the Final Four," said Jeremy Stephenson, REI Investments.
Stephenson told city planners the project is on time and on budget. All told, Marriott Place will add 1,600 rooms to downtown Indianapolis. That's a 30-percent increase.
The new hotel's opening will coincide with the expansion of the convention center, which is meant to bring more business to the city.
But the opening of the complex comes at a time when existing hotels are struggling to fill their rooms. Thanks to the economy, business at downtown hotels is down 14 percent over last year.Even the races didn't quite fill the stands or the rooms.
"There's certainly some uneasiness. That's a lot of rooms coming into Indianapolis," said Phil Ray, Greater Indianapolis Hotel and Lodging Association.
Ray, who represents downtown hotels, says in the short-term it will be tough.
"It's one of those things where we know we'll have to work hard to fill in the gap and get more creative to bring people downtown," he added.
That means more pressure on the people who work to draw conventions here.
"Cities are doing more to entice conventions and they're cutting better deals. We have to try to respond in the competitive arena by coming up with our own packages," said Bill Benner, Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Indy's Newest White Elephant?: Welcome to the New Marriott
Not sure how many people saw WTHR Mary Milz's story on the trouble filling hotel space in Indianapolis and the possible impact of all those hotel rooms in the new Marriott: