Saturday, February 03, 2007

County advances Coliseum hotel plan

From this morning's Journal Gazette:

County officials expect to apply for a building permit in about two weeks for a proposed hotel across from Memorial Coliseum.

The Allen County Commissioners approved several agreements Friday with the city of Fort Wayne and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne that will allow the hotel project to move forward.

Allen County owns the property where the hotel will be built between the American Red Cross and the St. Joseph River. But the university, through a foundation, leased the property in 1960 for 99 years, county attorney Bill Fishering said.

A road that will be built from Coliseum Boulevard back to the hotel will eventually be turned over to Fort Wayne so the city can maintain it, Fishering said.

The city’s board of zoning appeals required the hotel plans include a retention pond and a wooded buffer area and the county agreed to help maintain those areas, Fishering said.

The commissioners also agreed to lease the small area of land occupied by the tunnel that goes under Coliseum Boulevard to the Coliseum’s parking lot. The land, minus the road, will go to the university foundation after the new intersection is completed and the tunnel removed, he said.

In December, the city board of zoning appeals approved the 77-foot-tall Holiday Inn, which will include 150 rooms, a swimming pool and classroom space. The hotel will offer internships to IPFW and Ivy Tech students studying hospitality management and culinary arts.

University officials announced their plans to lease property to Valparaiso-based Focus Hospitality Services in 2005. The $12 million hotel will serve the Memorial Coliseum as well as the university.

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