JW Marriott taking shape

March 5, 2009
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The new 1,000-room JW Marriott convention hotel is rising fast at West and Washington streets in anticipation of a grand opening in March 2010. The $425-million complex also calls for a Courtyard by Marriott, SpringHill Suites and a Fairfield Inn & Suites. (IBJ Photos/Robin Jerstad)
JW Marriott
JW Marriott
JW Marriott
  • Its great to see cranes on the skyline again, espescially in this economy. I just wish it would be a little higher. They should of added 10 floors of condos to the tower. What a view that would be.
  • I'm sorry, but this project makes me sick (and I'm a part of it!). This type of project has NO place in our society. By itself, it's a wonderful thing. But, let me remind you that JW Mariott received a LARGE amount of taxpayer money and incentives to build this thing here. Just like Lucas Oil Stadium, a company that can afford to build their building with their own revenue stream instead rely on the taxpayers to pad their pockets, just so we can have a new hotel and a superbowl. We're going to be paying for these types of projects for decades...just as we are STILL paying for the Hoosier/RCA dome.
    Take a look over in Speedway. Do you think Tony George asks for taxpayer money when he makes alterations/additions to the track? Of course not.

  • it'll be a pretty building...

    that's all i'm saying about it...
  • At some point people need to face facts. Show us where Irsay demanded a new stadium. After you do that, I will comment on the rest of your post.
  • Mark -- as I understand it, the City of Indianapolis has a profit sharing deal with the JW Marriott developers. They didn't just hand money to Whiteco -- essentially the city is acting as a partial financier for the project. In exchange, not only will the city see a cut of profits but they also got a seat at the table for the scope and design phases of the project. As a result, the development is substantially larger and arguably of more architectural merit than would have been built otherwise (if at all). It's hard to see this project as anything other than a win for Indy.
  • Thanks for the info, CorrND. When the convention center is as successful as some people think it will be, and the Marriott is constantly filled, as we are getting a healthy city revenue stream from it, then maybe I'll about-face and support the move.

    And to Indyman, you're technically correct. Irsay didn't demand a stadium; he only threatened to leave if we didn't reward the Colts with a brand new stadium with more amenities and luxury boxes. So, we could have said no. But, sadly, Bart (and Mitch) ate it up and supported the build, partially so we could bring a superbowl here. Well, they got it, not to mention an $800mil eye-sore. This just goes to show you the state of our priorities in this city. (This coming from a Colts fan who enjoys watching games in HD as opposed to wasting money actually going to games).

    But I digress....the Marriott will be a visual improvement. I just don't know if it's a necessity at the current time. Like I said earlier, hopefully the success of the revamped convention center will make it a worthwhile venture for the state. However, maybe we can get Marriott to fix all our potholes, 'cause our idiot mayor obviously isn't going to do it...

    I must just be in an angry mood this evening...
  • Mark,

    Ok, I will change my question. Show us where he threatened to leave. It never happened.

    So lets say Mitch and Bart stood up to Irsay and said no to the new stadium. Were would we be today? Well we would have had to pay Irsay $15 to $20 million a year out of city tax coffers for at least 6 years regardless of how much success they had per our contract with him. Then we would have tried to decide if we could expand the CC. If we tore down the dome with no replacement to put the CC expansion there, then we would have defaulted on the contract with Irsay and not only lose the Colts, but risk paying not only the remainder of the contract, but have to pay millions in damages as well.

    As well, with no dome, that would mean the loss of billions of dollars in visitor revenue to Indy and the surrounding counties. That would mean no NCAA finals, no Superbowl, no Circle City Classic, no major conventions and trade shows that bring hundreds of millions of dollars those bring.

    Indy would have seen a major downturn, where hotels, stores and restaurants would close since many rely on these sporting events and conventions to thrive. The City and State would lose millions in direct tax revenue and many more millions in indirect revenue.

    I really do not think people realize how much the stadium, the Colts and all of our tourist venues mean to our reputation and bottom line. Cities in our region would kill to have what we have here.
  • Hmm. This looks like a construction site to me, but it does not look like a stadium. Am I missing something relevant to the project?
  • Great to see construction moving ahead. It gives us a more positive prospective on the future than the drive-by media and politicians with their continuous negative spin.

    Lastly, Mark, you obviously do not like Mayor Ballard. That's fine. But he does deserve the respect of being called Mayor not idiot whether you agree with him or not. Any elected official should expect common courtesy and appropriate protocol.
  • thundermutt, I appreciate your attempt to redirect the thread back to the hotel, but the convention center, stadium, and hotel are all inextricably linked. A conversation about one almost certainly brings up one or both of the others. The Super Bowl wouldn't have been possible without the hotel AND the stadium. The convention center expansion wouldn't have been possible without the hotel AND the stadium. And so on...

    And also, since when do we require official decorum in describing our elected officials? These boards (less so this one, but especially the other one) are usually rife with the most appalling insults in both directions. Are you also going to criticize Mark for calling the former mayor and current governor Bart and Mitch? That's disrespectful too, by your standard. My point: stop the silliness, or at least keep it in perspective
  • It's the media! It's the media! Which media are you referring to Berwickguy? There are lots of different kinds, you know? What about the positive spin financial networks like CNBC put on everything for the past 3 years while Rome was starting to burn? I have a feeling these global financial conglomerates don't rely on the media to drive their actions.

    And if some of your past posts are any indication, you hardly seem to be the posterboy for common courtesy and appropriate protocol. (IIHRC, you showed your negative feelings toward the proposed balloon ride in WRSP by calling it GAY. Nice one.
  • Anyway, I am just really happy to see this moving forward. It still looks like there is a lot left to do so I am surprised that they are opening in a year. However I think it was mentioned before that they are on a really aggressive work schedule and I have see them working on weekends and into the late evening on most days. This is a true skyscraper and the first one that has been built in a while here.
  • Dont be suprised when all the profits are eaten up by management fees. Have seen it before with other city funded projestc. Any profit from Circle Center yet?
  • And the reason why we are still paying on the Hoosier dome is because Goldsmith refinced it 3 times. Yet he consistently refused to direct any funding towards the CSO problem or the police pensions that were looming large at the time. Rumor has it thats hes back as pupetmaster on the 25th floor.
  • Every downtown construction-related conversation in Indianapolis does NOT need to be about Mayors Steve & Bart & Ballard, the Convention Center, Conseco Fieldhouse, Circle Centre, Lucas Oil, the Super Bowl, etc. Nor should civic conversation be steered by those who hate some or all of those things.
  • All I'm saying is that something is moving in the right direction for a change. And then there are those that want to attach the potential downside that may or may not happen. Plus, more name calling. My attempt was to keep things moving in the right direction in this discussion along with the progress of the hotel which we should be thankful for. And for that, here come the flurry of hateful, negative posters. Sorry if I bothered you guys.
  • A bold spirit is what has made this city rise from a ghost-town in the 80's to a thriving city that we can all be proud of. Is progress messy at time? You bet. However, I'd much rather be in a city where people complain about how all these incredible projects are going to be built and managed than a city where development has hit a wall.

    These assets extend our city's ability to do what we do best and that's host amazing events. Also, as an aside, I believe the White family has thrown in a ton of their personal money in order to see this hotel realized and we should be grateful that they're betting on Indy to come out of the recession as a winner.
  • Public-Private partnerships can be a wonderful thing. This will be a perfect example of the city getting money back for their investment. Events and tourism dollars can lead us well into the next few decades. People need to realize, it is going to take spending some money to make much more. I really think Indy is close to emerging into something even greater. Hopefully outside investors will soon take notice. (outside the state)
  • If I understand correctly, it is the other 3 hotels in the complex (Fairfield, Courtyard, etc. ) that are opening in 2010. The JW Marriott will actually open in early 2011.
  • Its amazing that there are so many people out there ready to tear down projects like this before they can come to fruition. I don't often give much credit to our officials, but in many cases we have been lucky in Indianapolis that we have had forward thinking people leading the backward thinking people of this city.

    LOS had so much more to do with the future of the convention center than the Colts leaving ever did. As was said above, with the potential debt that was going to have to be repaid, this was really the best path forward.

    No, we dont want to be floating the city on a mountain of debt and new taxes... but Indianapolis is positioning itself well as a good low cost convention destination in a time when companies will be looking to be more frugal with dollars spent in upcoming years. These new projects help project a progressive view of the city to people around the country that is invaluable in a way that cant just be measured in dollars and cents.
  • Just like the point this out: Bart Peterson is a (pseudo-distant) family friend. However, MANY of his policies I did and still DO not agree with. That's also coming from a democrat.
    Also, yeah, I don't like Ballard. He's not qualified for this job, and it's showing in oh so many ways. However, he beat a poorly run Peterson re-election campaign, so I can't really complain all that much.

    And what's this garbage about respect? They're paid to do jobs, and they fail at them. I think I'm allowed to criticize anyone who doesn't do their jobs well. I criticize the Colts and Dungy all the time for being poorly coached underachievers. Criticize me for that, but not for disrespecting our elected officials for calling them idiots.

    Finally, it's true that Indianapolis owes a lot to Irsay and the Colts, the Simons, the Pan Am games, the Indians, and now the Marriott for making downtown Indianapolis what it is: an attractive little-big town. However, I just don't agree with the way these projects are being funded. Period.

    The Marriott should and will be a compliment to our skyline.
  • Crossed wires.

    We are still not paying for the Hoosier Dome/RCA. The bonds we are paying on were used to pay for other downtown projects that are still around. The City took advantage of good interest rates and an approved funding stream (the domes 1% tax) to finance those projects. The myth that we are still paying for the dome was created by the Star to sell papers. The Star is good at printing half truths, one side of stories and innuendos as fact to try to drum up readership.
  • You know, this is really going to affect the skyline vews from WRSP in a negative way.

    That said, this will make a great impact when viewing from the west side of White River. The money shots from that angle will be much improved and added with LOS, will really extend the skyline south.
  • How could this project be anything but positive? The ICVA needs the convention space and hotel space to keep things moving forward. LOS is an incredible addition to the convention center. Once everything is in place, Indianapolis will continue to grow. Convention business - including sports - is what got us here. It will sustain the businesses downtown and allow the city to prosper down the road. Sure, the city will take some lumps leading up to it. But it will have significant payoff in terms of creating jobs and creating tax revenue.
  • Thundermutt, you're right that every construction project shouldn't be tied to the CIB projects you list. However, this (big) one is directly linked, and should be. That was the point I tried to make.
  • Mark:

    Your comment: What's all this garbage about respect? That comment speaks volumes about what is wrong with our society. Shouldn't we be teaching our young people about respect and decorum? They don't, for the most part, respect teachers and administrators any longer. Lay the blame there for poor parental examples, lack luster administrators that don't set a tone of respect, and lawyers too quick to litigate because little Johnny doesn't have to do what they say since it's his civil right to say no.

    Well, couple that with your attitude. You say Bart lost because he ran a poor campaign and you shouldn't have much to complain about yet you pump your chest, so to speak, about your right to call the mayor an idiot. He may be poor and may not live up to your expectations. The man was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps before becoming Mayor. That, it itself, deserves at least avoiding being called an idiot.

    While I understand your feelings toward politicans, we should all remember that we should be setting examples for others. Sometimes I feel like calling a whole bunch of politicians idiots because of their behavior (as in the Washington elected elite), I do my best to avoid the temptation. Perhaps you should as well.
  • Berwickguy-
    Seriously, does you last post indicate that you have begun to avoid the temptation calling things gay if you don't like them? If so, that's really good to hear.

    We should all remember that we should be setting examples for others, right?
  • Seriously Berwickguy - now you're saying respect doesn't have to be earned, it simply comes with some titles? Umm.... ok.
  • DutchEastIndie:

    I apologized for that comment. You seem to really be stuck on it. It was never meant to offend.


    Yes, that is what our society needs to understand. We certainly have more that a right to criticize and express our opinions. But, as the example we set before others, especially youth, we should leave the name calling out. You see how upset DutchEastIndie got about me referring to an object as gay. And that was not even directed to a human. Well that was wrong, and so is referring to an elected official as an idiot.
  • Berwickguy-
    Thank you for your response. We all have our individual sensitivities. Many loved ones are gay and I decided a few years ago that I would no longer keep quiet when confronted with disrespect towards them as group. I realize now that you didn't mean it as such per se, but I hope from your acknowledging that it was wrong you can see how words like that can hurt even if the intention wasn't there.

    Your humble response is helping to teach me that I need to be careful to not offend anyone myself. We all want to see a better Indy, right?

    Now, back to development news in this town of too many power lines and too few sidewalks!
  • DutchEastIndie:

    Very good words, thanks so much for the complement. By the way, you mentioned sidewalks. It would also seem reasonable for the city to do its part in not only repairing, but eliminating weeds that grow around sidewalks and medians. Madison Avenue and South US 31 are a very good example of little or no maintenance. Many sidewalks in the downtown look shabby in the summertime as well.
  • Re: sidewalks. Property owners should take care of the sidewalks in winter and summer (snow, trash, weeds, etc.). It takes as long to pull any weeds as to call Mayor's Action Center to complain. Git 'r done. :)
  • Am I too late for the group hug?

    Depending on the width of the sidewalks that they rebuild around the Marriott, there could be a lot of unintentional group hugs outside the hotels. There's a way to bring people together.

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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim