Terre Haute businessman Greg Gibson has resigned from the Vigo County Capital Improvement Board and will partner in the development of a third downtown hotel.
Gibson made the announcements Tuesday during a meeting of the board after abstaining from two votes related to construction of a new convention center. He said it was his last meeting as a board member.
Gibson owns a significant portion of property the board is focusing on as the site for a convention center between Wabash Avenue and Cherry Street and Seventh and Ninth streets.
On Tuesday, he said he will donate his property for the project.
In a statement, Gibson said he’s seen first-hand the opportunities that come with increased tourism and has developed a passion for downtown revitalization. His previous downtown projects included redevelopment of the Terre Haute House site where the Hilton Garden Inn now stands and conversion of the Tribune Building to a Candlewood Suites hotel.
More hotel rooms and parking are needed downtown to ensure the success of a convention center, he said.
“Opportunities like these don’t come along very often, and we can’t allow this one to pass,” Gibson said.
“The CIB will have to use its available funding and the food and beverage [tax] revenue to build and operate the new facility,” he said. “Our only opportunity for the development of a new hotel project to serve the convention center is through private investment. Therefore, I’ve agreed to be a private partner to develop a new hotel with my friend and business associate, Tim Dora, and his Dora Hotel Group.”
Gibson abstained from voting on two matters
• A resolution of interest in downtown property and granting board President Jon Marvel authority to appoint two appraisers to determine fair price for the property
• A resolution approving a petition asking the Terre Haute City Council to permanently close Eighth Street between Cherry Street and Wabash Avenue to accommodate the project.
Both measures passed with the support of all other board members.
Attorney Tim Nolting said Gibson’s action means an appraisal will likely not be needed for his property but will be required for other parcels needed for the project.
Gibson said he will move to contribute his property to the Capital Improvement Board as soon as design plans for the convention are approved.
Marvel and other board members thanked Gibson for his service and his contributions to downtown redevelopment.
“It will benefit everyone in the county, surrounding counties and the entire state, in my opinion,” Marvel said. He called Gibson “the glue that kind of held this whole project together. ... We can’t thank you enough for the donation that you’ve made for this project.”
Dave Patterson, executive director of the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau, is expected to take Gibson’s seat on the board.
Chris Nations of Nations Group project development and management said work is progressing on convention center schematic design, traffic impact, utility coordination, furniture and equipment and operations.
“We’ve had really good response from some national operators that are very interested in … operating this building for us,” he said. Garmong Construction Services is the construction manager on the project.
In other action Tuesday, the board approved a multi-party financing agreement formalizing what Nolting called a “handshake agreement.” Under the agreement, Terre Haute and Vigo County each agree to commit $10 million toward convention center construction and the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau of Vigo County will contribute $5 million.
Dave Taylor can be reached at 812-231-4299 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TribStarDave.