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Bloomington approves $27 million downtown hotel project

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The Bloomington City Council has approved giving up some city property for construction of a $27 million Hyatt Hotel near the downtown courthouse square.

Council members voted 8-1 Monday night to vacate an alley in the middle of the project site after a 2-hour-plus discussion of low wages in the hotel industry and whether supporting the project was consistent with Bloomington's "living wage" ordinance.

Jeremy Stephenson, vice president of Indianapolis-based real estate firm REI Real Estate Services LLC, said the hotel operators will pay competitive salaries but won't commit to the city's "living wage" standard of $11.66 an hour, the Herald-Times reported.

Supporters told the council the project will bring needed hotel rooms and visitor revenue to the city.

Stephenson says construction of the 168-room hotel should start next spring and be finished in 2014.

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  • Competitive wages?
    Of course they're going to pay "competitive wages". What would the alternative be? Wouldn't paying uncompetitive wages require slavery? Apparently, many of these competitive wages will not amount to $24,250/year for a full-time worker.
  • Several Cities Have It
    Several cities have some sort of living wage ordinance. Some of the ordinances only apply to projects involving city contracts or city tax subsidies, and in other cases the ordinances are similar to a general minimum wage ordinance--it depends on the city and the state it is located in (as some states do not allow cities to set a different general minimum wage from the state law).
  • Living Wage
    I've never heard of a living wage ordinance before, but it sounds like a great idea if it was an actual minimum wage law set by specific cities. No one can live on $7.55/hour and if you work full time, you can't get government assistance even with that low wage.

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