Marriott Courtyard hotel coming to downtown

Submitted photoA new look downtown: An aerial diagram included in the recent downtown Terre Haute traffic study shows the location of the new Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Cherry Street (center) in the expanded office building, as well a two new parking garages on the south side of Cherry Street and the new convention center on Wabash Ave. straddling what will be a closed 8th Street.

A Courtyard by Marriott will be the new hotel to be built next to a new downtown convention center in Terre Haute, according to a diagram in a traffic study for the Vigo County Capital Improvement Board.

The proposed new Courtyard by Marriott is to be directly across from a parking garage on Indiana State University’s campus. An existing building, which now serves as a state government office building, would be expanded into Eighth Street for the hotel, according to the diagram.

Terre Haute businessman Greg Gibson, who owns the building, confirmed the building would be expanded, with a final design looking like an upside-down squared horseshoe as shown in the diagram. The center section has an open green space area.

“It will provide a gathering area, a nice entrance. You will be able to enter the convention center from both sides, from the front off of Wabash Avenue but then also from the Cherry Street side through that courtyard area,” Gibson said. “It will provide a nice amenity for the hotel as well.”

Gibson said talks still in progress don’t yet allow him to discuss branding of the new hotel.

A new convention center, adjacent to the new hotel, will face Wabash Avenue, across from the Terre Haute Children’s Museum, according to the traffic study diagram.

A new hotel parking garage is to be at the southeast corner of Seventh and Cherry Streets, while a new convention center parking garage is to be on the southwest corner of Ninth and Cherry Streets, across from Indiana State University’s Hulman Center.

“The convention center parking garage will certainly have access off of Cherry Street,” Gibson said. “That parking garage will be open to the public and be able to be used for Hulman Center events and just downtown parking in general, so I think that will be a benefit to the downtown in addition to what it will do for the convention center.”

The parking garage at 7th and Cherry will be connected with walkways to both the new hotel and to the existing Hilton Garden Inn, Gibson said.

“The parking for the hotels is essential to the project. We have to have the third hotel [in the downtown] to make a 1,000-seat convention center viable,” Gibson said. “We don’t want to be limited by the number of hotel rooms we have, so they are dependent on each other and the parking is so important.

“For the [existing] Hilton Garden Inn to give up their surface parking for the convention center, the CIB had to resolve that problem for the hotels,” he said of the needed parking garages.

The closing of a section of Eighth Street is also essential to the project, Gibson said.

While Gibson is donating land for the project, the Vigo County Capital Improvement Board last month was still waiting on a second appraisal of other land needed for the downtown project.

The CIB can purchase land for no more than the average of two appraisals. The CIB will purchase about 1/4 block from Hulman & Co. near Ninth and Cherry Streets and purchase land about a 1/2 block behind Hilton Garden Inn from Terre Haute Hotel Partners LLC, lead by Tim Dora, president of Dora Hotel Company.

Additionally, the traffic study diagram shows that the Copper Bar and the Terminal buildings will remain intact.

“The convention center project does not involve either [the Copper Bar or Terminal buildings],” Gibson said. “Neither has to be torn down for that.

“We are still trying to decide what we want to do. It is my hope we will find a tenant for the Terminal building, then make some decisions about the Copper Bar,” Gibson said.

The bar building is in need of major repair, with its roof needing replacement and its heating, cooling and ventilation system is in poor shape, said Gibson, who owns both the Copper Bar building and the Terminal building.

“That is the one that is up in the air, [and we are] trying to figure out what to do with that,” he said.

The Vigo County Capital Improvement Board next meets Jan. 16 at the Vigo County Annex.

In December, Steve Bauer, vice president of construction services for Nations Group, said Nations Group is slated to give architectural renderings to the CIB.

“It will show what the architect and the board have considered this building to look like and what will be on the inside, square footages, floor plans and details,” Bauer said in the December meeting of the CIB.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com. Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.