New airport-area hotel will be rarity in market

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Hotel construction outside downtown has been rare in the metro area since the recession took a big bite out of business travel and tourism.

But the building of a $12 million Holiday Inn near Indianapolis International Airport might be signaling the start of a turnaround.

South Bend-based Holladay Properties is partnering with locally based Schahet Hotels Inc. to develop the hotel. Construction started in April and should finish by February, in time for the city’s hosting of the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four in April 2015, said Chris Wilkes, a partner of Holladay Properties.

“What we are seeing with the rebound in the economy is more demand in the hotel segment,” he said. “That’s why we saw an opportunity to launch the Holiday Inn, when all the economic indicators are trending in the right direction.”

holiday inn ameriplex 15colThe full-service, five-story Holiday Inn will total 82,000 square feet and feature 122 rooms. (Image courtesy Holladay Properties)

Holladay Properties is developing AmeriPlex-Indianapolis, one of the area’s largest industrial parks based on rentable square footage, near the airport and south of Interstate 70 on the far-west side. A portion of the park includes a 17-acre commercial and retail development called Stansted Landing that so far has attracted a free-standing Subway restaurant.

Holladay Properties and Schahet (pronounced shock-it) are building the Holiday Inn on the west side of Ameriplex Parkway in Stansted Landing, where Holladay also in discussions with a few restaurants and service-station providers, Wilkes said.

Across Ameriplex Parkway to the east, Schahet already operates the Hampton Inn & Suites, which opened in October 2008, and Hilton Garden Inn that followed in November 2008, as the recession gained steam.

Hotel construction otherwise has been relatively quiet, except for the opening of the downtown JW Marriott in February 2011 and The Alexander at CityWay in January 2013.

The full-service, five-story Holiday Inn will total 82,000 square feet and feature 122 rooms, in addition to 3,500 square feet of meeting space and a restaurant and sports-themed bar.

Both Holladay and Schahet are interested in attracting even more hotels to Ameriplex, which still has about 225 acres of undeveloped land. High on the list is a Residence Inn, to complement the other lodging options.

“First we want to see what the Holiday Inn does and get that stabilized, but we’re confident it will do well,” said Greg Schahet, the company’s president and chief financial officer. “Once we see that, there should be another opportunity.”

Including the Holiday Inn and a Double Tree by Hilton under construction in Schenectady, N.Y., Schahet will operate 11 hotels, all but two in the Indianapolis area. Its holdings include the downtown Hampton Inn and another Hampton in Carmel on North Meridian Street south of West Carmel Drive.

The Holiday Inn and two existing hotels in AmeriPlex represent an attempt to capture airport traffic from the new midfield terminal that opened in February 2009 with a reconfigured entrance and exit off Interstate 70.

About 2,200 rooms are spread among 14 hotels in the vicinity of the old terminal, said Mark Eble, regional vice president of San Francisco-based PKF Consulting/Capital. Whether that much hotel development sprouts up in AmeriPlex or other areas surrounding the airport remains to be seen.

“Unfortunately, we have this beautiful billion-dollar airport that hit the market as the economy was going down and the airline carriers were consolidating,” Eble said. “People are still trying to game out what the right hotel combination is at the airport.”

Another new hotel planned for the metro area is a 10-story Drury Plaza Hotel, with freestanding restaurant, that St. Louis-based Drury Hotels plans to build at the northeast corner of Meridian and 96th Streets, just south of Interstate 465. The hotel, with 304 rooms, is expected to open in late 2015.


  • what??
    how is this a rarity? Theres a brand new sleep inn that just opened on 16th street downtown.. Theres a courtyard by marriott under construction about to open. Theres a hilton garden inn in zionsville just opened a year or 2 ago

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.